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SECOND SEMI-FINAL RECORD

SECOND SEMI-FINAL

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE AFL GAME $10 (INC. GST)

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs BRISBANE LIONS

WESTERN BULLDOGS VS BRISBANE LIONS F R I D AY, S E P T E M B E R 1 1 , 2 0 0 9 , M C G

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FINALS WEEK TWO, SEPTEMBER 11-12, 2009 F E AT U R E S

7

Snapshot

The best photographs from last weekend.

16

Talk of the town

A series of football topics to ponder.

38

Challenging times

What’s ahead for Brad Scott and Damien Hardwick?

77

Game reviews

A look back at the first week of finals.

112

Neil Craig

Why leadership and teamwork is so important. REGULARS

4

Backchat

Have your say about the football world.

42

The Finals Bounce

Views, news, first person, facts, data, culture.

49

Matchday

Stats, line-ups and Denis Pagan’s preview.

Answer Man 118 Collectables 122 Talking Point 116

The need for perspective in hero talk.

nium! Fandemo GE 36 PA

SEE ance for your chasonic n to win a Pa TZ7. Lumix

THIS WEEK’S COVERS There is a souvenir cover for both games, with Bulldog Brian Lake, Lion Daniel Bradshaw, Magpie Da Nick Maxwell and Crow Tippett featuring. Kurtt Tip Kur T ip Go to slatterymedia.com/ sl images to order prints. ima

91 Awesome Adelaide

Brett Burton was one of the stars as Adelaide crushed Essendon by 96 points in last week’s elimination final at AAMI Stadium.

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feedback

backchat HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE FOOTBALL WORLD

Reward ball players ers I agree wholeheartedly with Len Williams’ commentss d. in last week’s AFL Record. Awarding free kicks to ‘ball players’ who are tly) tackled poorly (incorrectly) would not only free up the game, as suggested by Len, but the wonderful art of tackling correctly below the neck and not in the back would again become an important part of the great game. Currently the act of players diving on top of another player with the ball and scooping it back into the pack to claim an easily-won free kick is a blight that should be eliminated from football. The sight of three, four or more players rolling around on the ground, and some with arms raised, appealing for a free kick, is not in keeping with the spirit of this wonderful game. Ball players must be encouraged and protected at all times. Otherwise the game becomes a rolling maul, which is accepted in rugby but should not be accepted in ours. IAN WALLACE, LIFE MEMBER AFL UMPIRES ASSOCIATION, FORMER UMPIRES ADVISOR FOR QUEENSLAND AND NSW AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUES

It’s our time, Saints Like most St Kilda fans, I keep wondering whether this is really our year. Yes, it’s been a great season to date, and seeing the Saints knock over Collingwood last week was a beautiful thing. Yes, we’re thrilled to be in the preliminary final. But come on Saints, let’s make sure we finally add to our one flag with a win this year. It has to happen.

A reader is hoping the Lions can wipe the smile off Jason Akermanis this week.

‘Aka’ payback? I’m surprised little has been written or said about Jason Akermanis lining up this weekend in a final against his old club. ‘Aka’ was a true Lions champion and we couldn’t have won our three flags without him, but I can’t wait to see the Lions take the smile off his face this weekend. JOSH, SPRING HILL, QLD.

ANDREW, SOUTH MELBOURNE, VIC.

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Gillon McLachlan AFL CORPORATE BUSINESS MANAGER Richard Simkiss AFL RECORD MANAGING EDITOR Geoff Slattery AFL RECORD EDITOR Peter Di Sisto

DOG MUZZLED:

PRODUCTION EDITOR Michael Lovett WRITERS Nick Bowen, Ben Collins, Jim Main, Peter Ryan, Callum Twomey, Andrew Wallace SUB-EDITORS Gary Hancock, Howard Kotton STATISTICIAN Cameron Sinclair CREATIVE DIRECTOR Andrew Hutchison DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Sam Russell

HAVE YOUR SAY The best letter receivess two DVDs courtesy of the Visual Entertainment entt Group – Down At Kardinia ia Park and Sam Newman’ss Great Characters Of Footy. This week’s winner is Ian Wallace. Email mail aflrecordeditor@slatterymedia.com or write to AFL Record, Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, VIC, 3008.

DESIGNERS Jarrod Witcombe, Alison Wright PHOTO EDITORS Natalie Boccassini, Melanie Tanusetiawan PRODUCTION MANAGERS Troy Davis , Cameron Spark PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Stephen Lording DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Adele Morton COMMERCIAL MANAGER Alison Hurbert-Burns

NATIONAL SALES MANAGER Nathan Hill AFL CLUB ACCOUNT MANAGER Anthony Palmer ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR Deanne Horkings Advertising (03) 9627 2600 PHOTOGRAPHY Sean Garnsworthy, Michael Willson, Lachlan Cunningham AFL Photos (03) 9627 2600 aflphotos.com.au

EDITOR’S LET TER

Talking footy  Football people love to talk – about their team, other clubs, favourite players, rs, villains, umpiring, the rules, tactics, goalkicking, trends, the “good old days” – no topic is off limits. As the eight teams that missed the finals – and the two eliminated from the premiership race last weekend – assess what they achieved, what went wrong and what exactly they need to address as they look to 2010 and beyond, the AFL Record offers but a few topics for fans to ponder and debate: Should the ninepoint goal be introduced to the home and away season? Do we need to cap the number of interchanges? Is it time to re-introduce a midseason draft? Can a team really change its playing style at will? Should we look at re-introducing the 15m penalty? Is speed really the way to break a zone defence? Did we learn anything from the Lance Franklin incident? This week’s Record also features an extensive review of the first four finals played last week, with stunning photographs and colour essays covering each game, a closer look at each club and the comments made by the eight coaches. As a package it makes a wonderful permanent record of the first week. PETER DI SISTO

PRINTED BY PMP Print ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO The Editor, AFL Record, Ground Floor, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Victoria, 3008. P: (03) 9627 2600 F: (03) 9627 2650 E: peterd@slatterymedia.com AFL RECORD, VOL. 98, FINALS WEEK 2, 2009 Copyright. ACN No. 004 155 211. ISSN 1444-2973, Print Post approved PP320258/00109

4 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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GET YOUR HANDS ON THE OFFICIAL AFL iPHONE APP Packed with the scores and stats that matter, the official AFL Finals app puts game-day action in your back pocket. Follow every match as it happens with live scores and player stats, then review the big moments, including the best goals and big marks, in the video lounge.

GRAB IT NOW FOR AN END-OF-SEASON BONUS Stay up-to-date with the official 2009 Brownlow Medal and 2009 NAB AFL Draft trackers.

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F I N A L S

W E E K

1

SNAP SHOT

Rising to the occasion

he finals are football’s biggest stage and it is remarkable how often the game’s biggest names shine brightest under that spotlight. With a discernible lift in intensity and pressure in September, sides look to their go-to men to deliver. St Kilda key forward Justin Koschitzke (pictured) forms one of the most dangerous forward partnerships with his skipper Nick Riewoldt and is crucial to the Saints’ premiership hopes. Koschitzke set the tone for his team early against Collingwood, outmarking Leigh Brown to kick the game’s first goal. He finished the match a solid contributor with two goals and eight marks. Some even bigger names, pictured in the following pages, were even more influential in the first week of the finals. At 33, veteran Adelaide playmaker Andrew McLeod produced one his typical finals performances to lead the Crows to a 96-point win against Essendon. Geelong champion Gary Ablett again rose above the pack – literally with a second-quarter mark over Nathan Eagleton – to signal the Cats were far from a spent force. Skipper Jonathan Brown typified the never-say-die spirit in the Brisbane Lions camp, ignoring a nasty head wound to spearhead a fairytale comeback. And Riewoldt put in perhaps the week’s best performance, destroying the Magpies with five goals, as he showcased his usual hard running and strong marking, and, most importantly, a steady right foot. NICK BOWEN

T

PHOTO: MICHAEL WILLSON/SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP

AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 7

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SNAP SHOT

EVER ELUSIVE

Touchable greatness ADELAIDE vs ESSENDON FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL, AAMI STADIUM  This is a photograph of one of the rarests moments in football. Andrew McLeod is seldom tackled. Indeed, opponents are usually barely able to lay a finger on the Adelaide marvel. And to capture this image during the Crows’ demolition of Essendon in the first elimination final at AAMI Stadium last week, when McLeod was at his breathtaking best, is

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even further testament to the efforts of our photographer. Shame on many of us who felt McLeod was past his best mid-season. Since then, he has celebrated his 33rd birthday and reinforced in our minds why he is one of the most gifted players we have seen. In his past seven games, he has averaged 28 disposals to break the 500-barrier for just the second time in the past seven seasons. His game against the Bombers was probably the best of them. In

his usual architectural role in the he back half half, he ran the lines with the pace and elusiveness of his heyday, amassing 30 touches (including 21 kicks) to be one of the best players afield. Not bad for a bloke with a chronic knee issue in his 327th game (the Crows’ record). It seems the bigger the stage, the better McLeod performs. Two Norm Smith medals are ample evidence of that. A third might well be in the offing. BEN COLLINS PHOTO: SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP

9/9/09 6:23:30 PM


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SNAP SHOT

SON OF A GUN

Ablett the aerialistt GEELONG CATS vs WESTERN BULLDOGS SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL, MCG  There was a spring in the step of the Cats last weekend, best typified by champion midfielder Gary Ablett. Like his team, a few seeds of doubt had been planted about how well the little master was travelling over the past month or so. However, the Cats – and Ablett – answered with an impressive win over the Western Bulldogs. It wasn’t a vintage Ablett performance but, for sheer effort and hard running, he won plenty of plaudits. He gathered 31 disposals (made up of eight, eight, seven and eight over the four quarters – a fair indication of his consistency) and a game-high seven clearances. But it was this moment late in the second quarter that prompted memories of his father Gary snr as he soared high over Bulldog Nathan Eagleton. Two days after this landing, Ablett collected his third AFLPA MVP Award (see page 108) – and suddenly the critics were well and truly silenced. MICHAEL LOVETT PHOTO: GREG FORD/SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP

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SNAP SHOT

CRUNCH TIME

Brave Brown BRISBANE LIONS vs CARLTON SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL, GABBA  It might have been an accidental collision and it might have stunned Brisbane Lions’ captain Jonathan Brown, but in a way it might have inspired a stunning comeback. Brown took a mark in the second quarter just before

he crashed into Carlton’s Heath Scotland, leaving the Lions skipper with a nasty gash over his right eye. Brown was forced from the ground under the blood rule and Travis Johnstone stepped in to take the kick. He duly booted a goal. When Brown returned to the action with six stitches inserted in his wound

and his forehead swathed in bandages, ndages the home crowd roared its appreciation of his bravery. Although it was feared Brown had fractured an eye socket (he later was cleared of bone damage), he played on to inspire the Lions to a seven-point victory after trailing by 30 points early in the final quarter. JIM MAIN PHOTO: MERVYN LOWE/SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP

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FOLLOW THE LEADER

SNAP SHOT

Saint be praised ST KILDA vs COLLINGWOOD FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL, MCG  One of the more peculiar aspects of modern sport is the criticism heaved upon some of the greatest athletes on the planet. Be it David Beckham, Kobe Bryant or Ricky Ponting, they all have detractors – often regardless of how they actually perform. Despite his lengthy list of awards and achievements, and the universal respect he has from his peers, Nick Riewoldt is a member of this club. And when the St Kilda captain went down, clutching his right knee in the first quarter, then missed the subsequent shot at goal, the anti-Riewoldt mob was out in force again at the MCG. Yet it is a mark of the player Riewoldt is that he rebounded from that hiccup (and a hiccup is all it was) to lead the Saints into a preliminary final with an inspirational performance. He kicked five goals, including a game-sealing snap on the run in the final term, which he is celebrating here. Game over. Critics silenced. At least for now. JOHN MURRAY PHOTO: ANDREW WHITE/SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP

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talkofthetown

Talk of the A running joke in the AFL Record office this week was the frantic behaviour of our resident Carlton tragic, as he worked the phones – in between what he gets paid to do – ruminating over the Blues’ finals exit and whether or not captain Chris Judd should have accepted the Match Review Panel’s initial two-match ban for a misconduct charge. Football is ideal for those of us who love nattering – rarely does a day pass in-season without a new topic to debate and weigh up, another issue

that needs to be addressed or resolved, or a proposal that ought to be dissected with scientific precision. On the following pages are but a few discussion starters – topics that have cropped up in recent weeks, perennial favourites and some left-field ones to provide even more for football tragics to talk about. Geoff Slattery, Michael Lovett, Ben Collins, Jim Main, Andrew Wallace, Nick Bowen, Howard Kotton, Ashley Browne, Peter Di Sisto. Illustrations by Guy Shield.

16 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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I

n terms of football department spending, the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ is starting to close. Whereas once clubs would slash a football department budget in order to save money, they will now eke out every dollar to provide more football resources and better facilities. Clubs such as Richmond, North Melbourne, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs have successfully lobbied federal and state governments, and the AFL, to find the extra funds to improve their training facilities. These facilities need to be supported by bigger football departments, making it almost impossible to cap the funds clubs are spending. Then there is a small matter of how to police a salary cap on a football department. It’s been hard enough for the AFL to keep tabs on player salary caps and, while there are fewer cracks

What will next year’s playing trend be?  In footy, imitation is the greatest form of fl attery. Hawthorn’s defensive zone, also known as ‘Clarkson’s Cluster’, helped propel the Hawks to a surprise premiership win last year, and sent the other 15 AFL coaches and their strategists scurrying to their whiteboards to see if they could crack it – and better it. But how many of those coaches would have spent their summers researching and implementing zones of their own had Geelong won last year’s premiership? The Cats were all about (and still are) run and carry through

It’s been hard enough for the AFL to keep tabs on player salary caps ... a football department salary cap might smack too much of big brother looking over in the system now, a football department salary cap might smack too much of big brother looking over clubs’ shoulders. And why should successfully run clubs such as West Coast, Adelaide and Collingwood be penalised for having the ability to raise money and spend what they like on their football departments? The game has moved forward in leaps and bounds on and off the field and the past decade has opened up new frontiers in the industry. We know much more about sports science, player welfare and development, and

the corridor. There is no rocket science to the way they go about their football. It is just that when they are up and about, they implement their plan so effectively they are nigh on impossible to stop. The Hawks’ zone might only have been regarded as a passing fad had they not won the flag last year, so any discussion about what to look for in footy next year might need to wait until we know who wins this year’s flag and, more accurately, what they did differently. Of the teams that have made their mark this year, St Kilda and Adelaide have been noted for their forward zones or ‘frontal pressure’ as it has become known. Collingwood chooses to zone up in defence. The Cats continue to use the

elite performance management – terms unheard of 20 years ago. In the early 1990s, the normal football department structure was a senior coach, perhaps a part-time assistant, a football manager and a

recruiting manager. Now, it’s not uncommon for clubs to have 30 or more full-time employees (and 40-50 part-timers) in their football departments. They help to make the game, and the standard of football, even better. MICHAEL LOVETT

My personal view is that 99 per cent of all footy tactics have been tried and there is nothing left on the table GERARD HEALY

corridor, as do the Crows. The Magpies and the Saints use the fl anks, while the Bulldogs are adaptable. And because this is the most wide-open premiership race for many seasons, there hasn’t been a ‘cluster’ or any other trend that has the footy theorists buzzing. Another reason might be that there just aren’t many tricks left in the bag for AFL coaches to implement. Broadcaster and columnist Gerard Healy is one who subscribes to that theory.

“My personal view is that 99 per cent of all footy tactics have been tried and there is nothing left on the table,” said Healy, the 1988 Brownlow medallist. “There is no more revolution coming. Teams will continue to offer different looks but the difference-maker next year might be who can implement them the best and for the longest period of time.” Healy is a fan of frontal pressure and believes the uncertainty and turnovers it forces can be a key to victory. He hopes to see more of it in 2010. But how many clubs go down that path may depend on whether the best at executing that strategy take home the premiership cup later this month. ASHLEY BROWNE

AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 17

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talkofthetown

I

t wasn’t so long ago when fans used to complain bitterly when their team received an excess of paytelevision games over a season. However, with Fox Sports now showing four of eight games each home and away round and subscriptions to pay-television becoming more common, there seems to have been a subtle shift in thinking among supporters. Games on cable or satellite services are no longer cursed. Perhaps one of the main causes of this conversion is that supporters simply love watching their teams live. Often on free-to-air television, viewers are watching a delayed telecast. For most die-hard fans unable to attend games for any number of reasons, it is the height of frustration. Some approach the situation by pretending the broadcast is live – they turn off all electronic devices in case a friend or relative gives the game away, and wait impatiently for other

The delay becomes unbearable. They are unable to resist finding a live score, and feed off radio and internet updates programming to end. For others, the delay becomes unbearable. They are unable to resist finding a live score, and feed off radio and internet updates, which in turn can spoil their viewing experience when the telecast eventually begins. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has suggested the impact of live broadcasts on gate receipts is negligible, and the networks are generally open to the idea of showing matches live. Surely, the overwhelming majority of fans would welcome such a move from 2012 when the next broadcasting contract starts. ANDREW WALLACE

Could a Mark WilliamsDean Laidley coaching team work at Port Adelaide?  In terms of experience, it could be a combination that rattles the cage at Alberton. Williams has built this Port Adelaide team over a long period, taking the Power to the ultimate in 2004 and establishing a solid home and away record. However, since their 2007 Grand Final appearance, the Power have fallen back to the pack, finishing 7-15 in 2008 and

IN DEMAND: Former

North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley.

9-13 this year. Some might argue the magnitude of that 2007 defeat to Geelong has scarred Port Adelaide and certainly the playing personnel has a different look. When the Power lost at home to North Melbourne in round 22 this year, 13 of the 22 players had played in the 2007 Grand Final. Significantly, two of

them – Brendon Lade and Peter Burgoyne – were playing for the last time and it appears the way forward now for Port is youth. That would bring Laidley into the equation, given his background at North Melbourne where he worked with limited resources and wasn’t afraid to develop players. They might

appear odd coaching bedfellows but Laidley’s tactical nous, particularly on game-day, would be a huge plus for the Power. Williams has been given a further two years as coach and he will be hoping to reduce the gap between Port’s best and worst. Laidley, who is also being courted by other clubs for senior assistant roles, has indicated he would prefer a role that included both coaching and management aspects. He would be a good fit at Port, which is likely to have more long-serving players coming to the end of their careers in the next season or two. He could help fast-track the development of Justin Westhoff to take over from Warren Tredrea as the Power’s main target in attack, while Travis Boak has the chance to cement himself as the club’s premier on-baller. MICHAEL LOVETT

18 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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YEAR TO FORGET: The Hawks will

be keen to put 2009 behind them.

Hawks are a fascinating study

I

t was one of the quirks of the 2009 home and away season that Hawthorn, which never strung together more than two wins in a row, remained in contention for a finals berth until the 20-minute mark of the final quarter of round 22. The reigning premier couldn’t muster 10 wins for the season, and has entered an off-season that will be challenging and fascinating to watch. It starts at the top, with a new CEO needing to be appointed. Whoever replaces the Essendonbound Ian Robson will have particularly big shoes to fill. Hawthorn has aspirations to become the biggest club in Victoria, meaning the selection of the next CEO will be critical. But of more concern is the playing list. Hawthorn has two areas of worry heading into 2010 – key defenders and the ruck.

Stability in Hawthorn’s back six was a key to its 2008 premiership. The defence was settled for the entire season and played a key role in the ‘cluster’ formation. But with Trent Croad missing the whole season and injury restricting Rick Ladson (three games), Stephen Gilham (10), Xavier Ellis (12) and Brent Guerra (16), the Hawks couldn’t set up from the backline as they had last year. Midfielder Clinton

Following such a poor premiership defence, coach Alastair Clarkson shouldn’t have much trouble motivating the troops Young, also important for his run and carry and left-foot kicking, managed just five games. Erstwhile ruckman Robert Campbell had to fill in down

back while Tom Murphy was regularly forced to play on larger and stronger forwards. By year’s end, his confidence was shot. With Campbell otherwise occupied, Brent Renouf and Simon Taylor were forced to k load. Neither carry the ruck ax Bailey – excelled and, with Max pect so the ruck prospect thorn many at Hawthorn ning had been pinning n – now their hopes on facing a third knee n, reconstruction, ns to attention turns trade week. Aaron nyone? Sandilands anyone? Among the gloom s, there for the Hawks, s. They were positives. h 38 playe ers went through players this year and many off the howed they th hey youngsters showed idfielderr Liam could play. Midfi ird young gest Shiels, the third youngest his year, player on an AFL list tthis ar. could be a star.

Beau Dowler and Beau Muston showed they might have been worth the time and patience afforded them and Josh Kennedy appears ready to emerge as an inside midfielder and carry the torch for his famous family. Following su such a poor premiership defence, d de coach Alastair Clark ks shouldn’t have Clarkson much trouble motivating m the troops for a long lo and arduous pre-season n. Should they come pre-season. through th h unscathed, and that the injuri ie not bite as they injuries did this year, yye Hawthorn will confide en eye a dently top-fou u finish next year. top-four Anyy team that has Lanc Lancee Franklin, Sam Mit tc Mitchell, Luke Ho o Hodge, Cyril R Rioli (left), Brad S Sewell and Jarryd Ro R Roughead as its top six x should settle for noth h nothing less. ASHLEY BROWNE

20 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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Buckley is back for the finals.

If you drink or take drugs and drive, Sergeant Brian Buckley, or any of the thousands of other police on the roads this September, will catch you before someone gets hurt.


talkofthetown e to tow town ow wn n

Cut the length of trade week

T

he five-day trade iod at the end of period h season has each milar look a similar b officials and feel. Club ng to turn up aiming mond or snaffle a diamond two, but only at ment prices. bargain-basement Rarely are deals completed in the first few days. Then, as the ms on the final day, deadline looms ry of activity. The there is a flurry ver and clubs try sparring is over ayers and/or win to jettison players thers they have releases for others been chasing all week. and-mouse It is a cat-and-mouse game played at an agonisingly ut usually with slow pace, but l minimal results. For example, St Kilda last year wanted the Bulldogs’ Farren Ray, freely tipped to be available to any club willing to make a satisfactory offer. The respective clubs haggled and haggled until, surprise, surprise, the Bulldogs eventually released Ray in exchange for the No. 31 selection, which they used to pick Jordan Roughhead at the 2008 NAB AFL Draft.

Had there been a little more urgency, (Ryan) O’Keefe might have been wearing brown and gold in 2009 Surely the same deal could have been completed much earlier if there had been more urgency? Hawthorn chased the Sydney Swans’ Ryan O’Keefe last year, and the Swans reluctantly would have looked at a worthwhile deal. Yet, according to reports, the two clubs did not get together to plan a deal until late in trade week and, had there been a

HEARTBEAT: Fans,

young or old, might not appreciate an extra break.

How about a second bye?  While most coaches and players would give a resounding “yes” if they were offered an extra week off, the reality is the game needs continuity.

Since the introduction of the split round in 2001, clubs have been able to take a muchneeded mid-season break. Extending that to a two-week break or scheduling another one-week break during the season could have a negative impact on several key areas. Let’s start with the fans, the

little more urgency, O’Keefe i h h b i might have been wearing brown and gold in 2009. Considering this environment, a week of trading seems too long and allows clubs to play games in their fishing for fresh talent. A limited trade period could lead to much more decisive dealing, but at an enormous risk when a player’s future is at stake. Many players have been on holiday overseas and taken a phone call asking if they would

heartbeat of our game. For many, football is an addiction and they need their weekly fix away from the pressures of work, school or everyday life. Fans tend to vote with their feet and, while most appreciate the current situation with a split round, another break might prolong their absence. Given that AFL games are played in five main timeslots – Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, Sunday afternoon and Sunday twilight – fans can work their weekends around their AFL commitments. It’s a far cry from the days when six matches were played in Melbourne and Geelong on a Saturday afternoon. It also means fans can engage in their community football commitments such as NAB AFL Auskick, school, under-age or local football on a regular basis.

be willing to go from club X to club Y. For example, Essendon’s Dean Solomon was in London when asked if he would move to Richmond at the end of 2003. He turned down the move, but agreed to join Fremantle in a trade at the end of 2006. A two or three-day period would allow clubs to act more decisively and give the players concerned enough time to consider their futures. JIM MAIN

Extending that to a two-week break or scheduling another one-week break during the season could have a negative impact Another important consideration is the AFL’s television partners, which are just over halfway through a five-year agreement worth $780 million. For the free-to-air networks in particular, it’s all about return on investment and an AFL-free week in the middle of the season would not be a ratings winner. And there might also be some coaches and players who want to keep going – for example, a team such as St Kilda when it got on a roll this season would not want to risk halting its momentum. MICHAEL LOVETT

22 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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S 12 SIS SI YS A ANALY PLAYER DAT EL LEVEL HYDRATION

W When 15 might b be better

G XTERITY LA DEX D ELD F EL ONDS ON FI CO EC SE 9 ILIIS 29 82 MIL 8118 38 53 55 55 45 24 0. 0 3 00 6,600,403,

H

ow do you measure a player’s impact on a game in today’s football? Traditional statistics such as kicks, handballs and marks once told you which players had had the most influence on a game. But with most teams now playing possession-based football – where players can rack up prodigious numbers as their team goes backwards and sideways in search of a way through defensive zones – disposals and marks alone do not tell the full story of a player’s contribution. You have to go beyond such statistics and look at more modern measures such as contested possessions, clearances, clangers, inside and rebound 50s, and goal assists, which came into vogue in the late ’90s. But this year, the AFL Record’s weekly column The Godfather of Stats has taken readers into an even braver world of new-age statistics. There, Champion Data founder and Carlton premiership player Ted Hopkins has introduced us to innovative new measures that are as good a guide as any to which players are the League’s biggest match-winners.

For instance, measuring the metres a player gains for his team in kicks and handballs – and running with the ball, too – and the percentage of times those disposals find a teammate, gives you an insight into the effectiveness, not just the number, of a player’s possessions. Likewise, the number of times a player is involved in a chain of possessions that lead to a score for his side – known by The Godfather as a score involvement – and the percentage he is involved in his side’s total scoring, measure his impact on the scoreboard. So, too, do scoreboard impact points, which measure the total points a player contributes to his team’s score, through goals, behinds and score assists. To think we used to rely solely on goals and behinds. True, some of these new-age statistics can take a while to get your head around when you have survived on the basic ‘staples’ in the past. But it’s worth the effort because, once you understand just what it is they measure, you get a far greater insight of who’s having an impact on games and who’s racking up NICK BOWEN meaningless stats.

 Imagine this scenario. There is a minute to play in T the Grand Final, with scores level. A player takes a mark 70m from goal with the noise generated by 100,000 screaming fans making it impossible for anyone to hear the umpire. The player who has taken the mark appears to play-on and the man on his mark, who can hear only the noise of the crowd, restrains his opponent. The umpire, under the current rule, correctly pays a 50m penalty. A score is a ‘gimme’, for an innocent and understandable mistake. It is a massive punishment for a player whose only error was thinking his opponent had played on in a tight situation. It is a classic example of why there should be both 15m and 50m penalties, even if nominating either penalty is at the discretion of the umpire. And, if umpires had been given this discretion at the start of this season, the result of the round 22 clash between

Port Adelaide and North Melbourne at AAMI Stadium might have been different. North’s Scott McMahon marked just outside the 50m arc with his team trailing by two points and with just a minute to play. As he went back for his kick, Port’s Nathan Krakouer touched him lightly on the chest and McMahon tumbled, more through clumsiness than Krakouer’s touch. The umpire had no option but to pay a 50m penalty, McMahon scored an easy goal and the Roos won by four points. It was a huge penalty for a minor infringement. And cast your mind back to the 1987 Hawthorn-Melbourne preliminary final when young Irishman Jim Stynes ran in front of the Hawks’ Gary Buckenara about 55m from goal in the final seconds. Hawthorn was paid a 15m penalty, but Buckenara was good enough to kick a goal from about 40m to give his side a last-gasp two-point win. The 15m penalty for a minor infringement was what it deserved as a 50m penalty would have given Buckenara a ‘gimme’ goal. JIM MAIN

WHICH WAY:

Umpires should have the choice of a 15 or 50m penalty.

AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 23

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talkofthetown

I

nterchange rotations have revolutionised football in recent times. It started in the early 2000s when teams started routinely taking players (mainly midfielders) off for a rest to cope with the increasing speed and intensity of the game. It has evolved to the point where some teams operate more or less to a timetable – on average, rotating every minute – to ensure

players have the energy to go flat out during their ‘shift’. Collingwood, a trendsetter in this area, is a classic example. As recently as 2005, the Magpies were making fewer than 20 rotations; now they have that many by quarter-time. However, there is much method behind the perceived madness. The tactic enables the Pies to use more players through the midfield and enhances the

We don’t care what changes are made, as long as we all operate under the same rules NEIL CRAIG

game-breaking ability of stars such as Alan Didak and Leon Davis, who had previously been permanent forwards.

This has created football that’s even more turbo-charged and harder-hitting, and has some observers questioning whether limits should be placed on the number of rotations teams can make for a quarter or a match. Their reasoning is multifaceted – among them player safety concerns; a quest to make the game more of a battle of attrition, and more tactically driven through the manipulation of match-ups; and to make it more difficult for teams to flood for significant periods simply because it would be too taxing. Some extremists would love to revert back to the two-man interchange system. Now that would be a real battle of attrition. But, as Adelaide coach Neil Craig has been known to say: “We don’t care what changes are made, as long as we all operate under the same rules.” That old footy oracle Kevin Sheedy also made a pertinent point in his foreword to The Australian Game of Football when he wrote: “Can you hear what the game is saying: ‘Don’t fence me in’.” BEN COLLINS

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24 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au AFLS-GOTY-RECORDQTR-v2.indd 1

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9/9/09 6:55:48 PM


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talkofthetown

The benefits of discipline

A

fter round 18 last year, Collingwood suspended stars Alan Didak and Heath Shaw for the rest of the season because of off-field indiscretions. (Rhyce Shaw also copped a two-match ban.) Many Magpie fans feel their club’s hardline stance cost them higher honours, but the facts don’t tally with this theory. With Didak and the Shaws in the team, Collingwood lost its previous three games by an average of 40 points. Without them, the Magpies won their next three games against quality opposition and upset Adelaide in their elimination final clash at AAMI Stadium. They bombed out against St Kilda in their semi-final, but the long-term benefits are justifying the decision. Collingwood not only managed to instil valuable big-game experience into youngsters such as John McCarthy and Chris Dawes, but it sent a stern message to its entire playing list about the standards of conduct expected – and the penalties if they transgressed. The impact on Didak and Heath Shaw (Rhyce was traded to Sydney) alone is enough for Magpie officials to give each other knowing nods. Both have shown greater dedication to

the cause and, along with their team, are reaping the rewards. een as a change in It was seen hy from Collinwood, philosophy nder different which, under ances, previously chose circumstances, mpose bans on the likes not to impose k, Ben Johnson and Chris of Didak, Tarrant before important matches. n’t cut off your nose to The ‘don’t our face’ theory has been spite your ed by one that encourages replaced fliction the infl iction of short-term pain for erm gain. long-term In many ways, the Magpies wed Geelong’s lead. The followed mostt celebrated case was that of Cats superstar Steve Johnson, o at the start of the 2007 who son was suspended for five season tches by the club’s leadership matches oup and has returned a better group rson and a better player. No person incidence there. coincidence Other clubs have almost outinely followed suit, routinely uspending players who do the suspending wrong thing by their club, their teammates and themselves. It’s all about increasing professionalism and establishing a culture conducive to success. Repeat offenders simply won’t be tolerated. As dual premiership coach Denis Pagan once said: “Many players don’t realise the opportunity they’ve got until it’s gone. (And) some don’t realise that they were totally responsible for the consequences of their actions.” BEN COLLINS

Is speed the answer to smashing a zone defence?  Essendon believes it has the answer, maybe Geelong as well. What was often lost in the aftermath of last year’s Grand Final result is that the Cats had 34 scoring shots to Hawthorn’s 25, so it is abundantly clear they had the ball inside 50 enough times to kick a winning score. Geelong has plenty of speed in the midfield and runs hard to support each other, constantly overlapping.

It is particularly noteworthy that speedster David Wojcinski (right) was overlooked for the Grand Final last year and it is possible that he would have been a major difference to the Cats. Wojcinski, solid against the Dogs last week, provides the run and carry essential to break the lines, which is so important in countering a zone defence. This year, most teams employed some variation of a zone system,

WIN, WIN: Alan Didak – and the Magpies – have benefited from the club’s hard stance on discipline.

at least in parts of matches. St Kilda dominated the home and away season using an all-ground system emphasising extreme pressure on the opposition. The Cats came close to knocking over the Saints, going down by six points in round 14 at Docklands. Essendon defeated them in round 20 in a surprise result. The Bombers were able to break down St Kilda’s defence using speed as an integral part of their game-plan. They possess one of the quickest, if not the quickest, fleet of running players in the AFL.

Essendon controlled the corridor, won the inside i battles courtesy courrtesy of a supreme suprreme effort from m Jobe Watson and had plenty of runners ru unners on the outside o to break brea ak the lines, including nclu uding Andrew Lovett, Loveett, Jarrod Atkinson, Atkiins Atk nson on, Brent Brent Stanton Stan nton and Ricky Rick ky Dyson. HOWARD H OWARD KOTTON

26 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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Nine-point goals - yes or no?

T

wo of the great features of our game are high marking and long goals. If the AFL adopted the NAB Cup rule where nine points are awarded for goals from outside 50, there’s a fair chance we might see a huge leap (pardon the pun) in ‘speccies’ and long bombs, or attempts at such – at least at either end of the field. The nine-pointer experiment has been a great success in the NAB Cup. Just like the three-pointer in basketball, ‘super goals’ add an exciting new dimension to the game. Besides, they also have a practical purpose – they reward accuracy at a higher level of difficulty.

If the rule were implemented, coaches would feverishly plot how to score super goals, and how to defend them, because nine-pointers would simply be too valuable to ignore. Although most AFL players these days can kick 50m on the fly, the implementation of such a rule would give rise to even more designated kickers, and it would be fascinating watching teams alternately trying to release and guard those with rocketlaunching feet. Who knows? It might even cause a revival in the forgotten art of the torpedo. When attempted super goals dropped short, it would be ‘hanger time’ – high balls

There would also be even more suspense for longer because deficits could be more easily erased with the nine-point option

would be contested by packs in the goalsquare. There would also be even more suspense in games for longer because deficits could be more easily erased with the nine-point option. The traditionalists would scream because a separate scoring column would have to be introduced, and it would be

a tricky business in regard to scoring records and making comparisons with the past. But how much weight does the tradition argument carry? After all, things don’t start as traditions. They start as innovations that are gradually embraced by the masses as part of the fabric of the game. Super goals would certainly be innovative, and it’s a fair bet footy fans would embrace them, if not immediately, then gradually. BEN COLLINS

Are there too many teams in the finals?

FINAL EIGHT

P

W

St Kilda

22

20

Geelong

22

18

Western Bulldogs

22

15

0

7

60

 Does the final eight reward mediocrity? And, worse still, does it condemn footy fans to sit through onesided romps like the AdelaideEssendon elimination final last Friday night? When pondering these questions, it’s worth looking back at the finals systems that preceded the eight. The longest-standing system was the final four, which from 1925-71 was part of a 12-team competition,

Collingwood

22

15

0

7

60

OUTGUNNED:

Essendon, minus the suspended Patrick Ryder, was no match for Adelaide.

meaning just a third of the teams qualified for the finals. This was expanded to a final five from 1972-1986, when the competition remained at 12 teams. Did these systems eliminate one-sided finals matches? No, no system ever can, but they did ensure teams had to do more to earn their finals spots. Under the final-eight system, which has been in place since 1994, half of the competition’s 16 teams qualify for the finals. This meant Essendon claimed eighth spot this year despite losing more games than it won. The Bombers finished with 10 wins and a draw – two-and-a-half games behind seventh-placed Carlton, four-and-a-half games outside the top four and nine-and-a-half games behind ladder-leader St Kilda. So should anyone have been surprised when the Crows belted them by 96 points? Even allowing for the fact the Dons were without the suspended Matthew Lloyd and Patrick Ryder?

D

L

Pts

0

2

80

0

4

72

Adelaide

22

14

0

8

56

Brisbane Lions

22

13

1

8

54

Carlton

22

13

0

9

52

Essendon

22

10

1

11

42

Another possible weakness of the final eight is that teams from five to eight seem to be there largely just to make up the numbers Perhaps not. But does this mean the League should introduce a final seven? Or should it just resist the urge to expand to a final nine or 10 when the competition grows to 18 sides when Gold Coast and western Sydney join? Another possible weakness of the final eight is that teams from five to eight seem to be there largely just to make up the numbers.

Since the introduction of the current finals system in 2000 (where, in week one, the top-four sides play off for a preliminary final berth and the bottom four clash for the right to take on the losers of those games) just two of the 36 sides to reach the preliminary finals have come from outside the top four. Clearly, life is pretty hard for sides that finish outside the top four. By cutting their numbers, would we be reducing the amount of meaningless and one-sided games? Or would we just be cutting back on the game’s most exciting contests – finals? There are no easy answers. NICK BOWEN

AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 27

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ttalkofthetown talk ta alk alk lko koft kofthe kof ofth the hee to tow town ow wn n

Is the dynasty finally dead?  Is the football dynasty dead? de Have Havve the draft and salary ca cap fin nally ally levelled the AFL play playing fieeld so much that the extended exten premiership dominance p wielded by Collingwood from w fr 1927-30 and Melbourne from fr 1955-57 and ‘59-60 will never n be seen again? We’ve seen Geelong win w 55 of 58 games from round five, 2007 to round 13, 2009 – a winning streak unequalled w unequalle in League history – but clinch L clinc jjust ust one premiership in that th ttime. Although through to tthis his year’s preliminary fin nals, the th he Cats have lost their air of invincibility inv incibility recently, losing four of their th heir last nine home and away aw matc ches as St Kilda has assumed assum matches prem miership favouritism. premiership Ge eelong’s conqueror in last la Geelong’s year ’s Grand Final, Hawthor year’s Hawthorn, also showed how hard it is to stay atop the AFL heap this seas on. Despite having a young you season. side that looked more likely to impr rove on its 2008 form than tha improve regre ess, the Hawks missed the t regress, finals nal s because of a poor run with injur ry and the improved abil injury ability of op pposition teams to penetrate penet opposition theirr rolling-zone defence. It’ss true we may not see the llikes ikes of the Collingwood ‘Mac hine’ or Norm Smith’s ‘Machine’ Dem ons again, but a team does do Demons

ON A ROLL:

Alastair Lynch played in the Brisbane Lions’ premierships in 2001-03.

not have to achieve that level of dominance to create a dynasty. Given the Pies are the only side to win four consecutive premierships and just four others have won three (Carlton 1906-08, Melbourne 1939-41 and 1955-57, and Brisbane 2001-03), a side that wins at least two flags as part of an extended run in the finals can also lay claim to a dynasty. By this criteria, West Coast (1992 and 1994 premierships and 10 consecutive finals campaigns from 1990-99) and North Melbourne (premierships in 1996 and ’99, and seven consecutive preliminary final appearances from 1994-2000) qualify. It’s less than six years, too, since the Lions completed their premiership hat-trick, a streak that nearly extended to four flags – they lost the 2004 Grand Final to Port Adelaide. And, but for the Cats’ bad case of goalkicking yips in last year’s Grand Final, we perhaps wouldn’t be posing this question. It seems safe to say, though, a side’s window of opportunity to establish a dynasty is narrower than ever. Miss your opportunities like Essendon in 1999 and 2001 and you are stuck as a one-premiership wonder (2000). Grasp them like the Lions, and you have your dynasty. NICK BOWEN

S

hould a free kick go against a player who kicks the ball over the boundary line (not just on the full, but bouncing it over)? In the pressure of modern football, players need to be given an out, a safety mechanism. Already there is a rule preventing players taking the ball over the boundary line or kicking it over deliberately –

most believe that is enough. The question is, where do you draw the line? We’ve already embraced (playing style) aspects from other codes and, for the most part, these have made the game a cleaner, better spectacle. Instigating a free kick for kicking the ball out would be a slight variation of the rule used in soccer. Would it create more scoring opportunities or provide a more exciting contest? Perhaps. But there is nothing wrong with the boundary umpires throwing the ball back into play. And the modern game is probably quick enough as it is. The boundary throw-in gives everyone a chance for a breather – players and spectators alike.

Taking the ball to the boundary line is a tactic employed by most clubs at some stage during a game.

It creates another stoppage, allowing them to set up with their ruckman and midfielders and move the ball forward for another scoring opportunity. It is 40 years since the rule penalising a player kicking the ball out on the full was introduced and, without question, the rule has been a winner. To prove that, all you have to do is look at replays of those Grand Finals of the 1960s we’ve watched for many years on television. Players would kick the ball well into the crowd and give them a well-deserved breather. Of course, today’s players are much fitter, but they still need a break in play occasionally to gather their thoughts and refocus on their jobs. HOWARD KOTTON

28 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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AFL RECORD visit afl .com.au 29

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9/9/09 12:03:31 PM


talkofthetown QUIET ACHIEVER:

Nick Maxwell has been an outstanding leader for the Magpies.

THE ART OF THE N LOW-PROFILE CAPTAIN

W

hen the Magpies appointed Nick Maxwell as captain for the 2009 season, eyebrows were raised and online fan forums lit up. How could such a low-profile skipper front Australia’s highestprofile club? Collingwood’s most recent captains have all been well-known names – think Tony Shaw, a member of Magpie royalty, club champion Gavin Brown and AFL superstar Nathan Buckley. Scott Burns, while not wielding a huge profile outside the Lexus Centre, was widely respected and, in any case, only led the black and white for one season. Maxwell, however, started as a rookie and, in the eyes of some fans, wasn’t considered good enough early in his career for an automatic spot in Collingwood’s best 22. But few would now argue that the choice was not an inspired one. The 26-year-old defender has thrived having the added responsibility, averaging 18 possessions and six marks a game, up from 11 disposals and five marks in his five seasons before 2009. Maxwell’s ability to not only marshal those around him, but also cut off opposition forward thrusts and launch counterattacks has been remarkable.

Just as importantly, he hass morphed into a superb off-field leader and club ambassador,, impressing almost everyonee who has had dealings with him. Maxwell appears to be in ng the same category as Geelong arley premiership captain Tom Harley er and former Hawthorn skipper Richie Vandenberg. The Cats and the Hawks were ting trendsetters of sorts, appointing lower-profile skippers who weren’t necessarily among their clubs’ elite players but who possessed outstanding ld leadership qualities and could set and carry an agenda. Consider similar appointments by Melbournee (James McDonald), Port Adelaide (Domenic Cassisi) and rk). the Sydney Swans (Brett Kirk). Adelaide coach Neil Craig, who in this week’s o semi-final will be striving to ees quell Maxwell’s influence, sees the shift as a natural part off the game’s evolution. nging “I think it’s just footy changing ng, again,” Craig said. “For so long, the team captain has been the best player, right from when you start in the under-10s. “Nick has obviously been selected as team captain based on his qualities, attitudes, values and principles. I don’t think there’s any doubt about his playing ability, but it just really comes back to what clubs are looking for from a leadership point of view.” ANDREW WALLACE

Is the post-match press conference still valuable?  Every now and again, you walk away from a coach’s post-match press conference full of beans, believing you learned just a little bit more about the game and enjoying the coach’s refreshing approach to what is sometimes a challenging exercise, for him and those there reporting.

But too often, these press conferences – especially after late-finishing night matches – are so routine and predictable that they make you question their real value. Coaches are guarded, or agitated – and that’s sometimes after a win. But we understand why it happens. Coaches love protecting their knowledge; the last people they want to share information with, especially after a gut-wrenching game, are cynical reporters. Especially

Coaches love protecting their knowledge. The last people they want to share information with ... are cynical reporters reporters some coaches see as having a tendency to overstate or slant events. Some clubs are now providing ‘exclusive’ material from their coaches on their websites and

via mobile telephones. It’s a growing enterprise that will continue to change the way fans receive their information. But the game needs its media coverage, the type generated from post-game conferences, as well as more formal one-on-one interviews. Granted, we know coaches can sometimes be prickly. But maybe it’s those of us on the other side of the cameras, microphones and tape recorders who need to lift our game? PETER DI SISTO

30 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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9/9/09 7:00:34 PM


Can a team really change its ‘system’ mid-season?

E

ight games into this season, the picture for Adelaide was looking grim. With just three wins to its name, and coming off back-to-back elimination final defeats, the club was facing as deep a funk as any time in Neil Craig’s five-year tenure as coach. The goals weren’t coming. Over the first eight weeks, Adelaide cracked the century mark just once (against Fremantle in round three) and was employing a complex zone system that was sucking the life out of a midfield that looked, on paper at least, capable of playing an attractive and attacking brand of football, if given the opportunity. It was after the loss to Port Adelaide in round six that Craig recognised the need to change the way the Crows went about their footy and, while the next two weeks resulted in further losses – to the Western Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions – the tinkering began. Returns of 15 and 16 goals – and wins – against Carlton and Hawthorn the next two weeks gave the first glimpses

of the new attacking Adelaide team, but it was a remarkable score of 21.4 against Essendon at Docklands over the Queen’s Birthday weekend that made the rest of the competition sit up and take notice. The Adelaide that has been keeping the scoreboard ticking over since then (and kicking cricket-like scores the last two weeks) worries less about what the opposition brings to the table and focuses instead on its strength, which is winning the ball in the backline and then running it through the corridor in numbers.

It was a remarkable score of 21.4 against Essendon at Docklands that made the rest of the competition sit up and take notice Simon Goodwin, Tyson Edwards, Scott Thompson and Michael Doughty provide the experience and the grunt, while an extraordinary bunch of talented young midfielders such as Bernie Vince, Chris Knights, Nathan van Berlo, David Mackay

and Patrick Dangerfield have also come to the fore. They are tall, athletic and highly skilled. Some analysts look at the Crows and say that the structure hasn’t changed all year, but that the winning form has come about because of how they move the ball rather than any radical change to shape and structure. And certainly, the formula of a slow start before a dominant second half of the year replicates that of Geelong in its premiership year of 2007 and the Sydney Swans two years before that.

AFL coaches like to innovate over the summer, when the hours and hours of meetings and track work, and with no matches to prepare for, allow them to install a plan they hope will get them through an entire season, and they’re traditionally reluctant to change philosophy too much once the season starts. Three more wins to Adelaide this year might leave 15 other AFL coaches with something else to think about as they start their preparations for 2010. ASHLEY BROWNE

Start Grand Final Day by joining the who’s who of Australian sport, politics and business at one of Australian sport’s most iconic events, the 2009 Interactive Grand Final Breakfast.

THE

BRE A K FAST

The Ultimate Grand Final package includes: ‡ Reserved seating to the 2009 Toyota AFL Grand Final ‡ Seat at the 2009 Grand Final Breakfast ‡ Ticket to the 2009 Grand Final Eve/ 1999 Premiership Reunion Lunch Limited breakfast tickets only are also available. For further details or to book your seats now, please contact: Chris Speldewinde on 03 9320 2419 or chris.speldewinde@kangaroos.com.au

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talkofthetown

TIMELY TRADE: Gareth Andrews was swapped from Geelong to Richmond midway through the 1974 season and went on to play in the Tigers’ premiership team that season.

I

njuries are a fact of life in professional sport, but should a rash of them – especially long-term complaints – render a team uncompetitive because it is unable to top up its squad by making in-season player acquisitions? In many sports around the world, clubs have the option of signing free agents or trading for players during a season when injury or poor form hits. In some cases, teams hovering mid-table or struggling to stay in touch have been able to turn their form around by striking a blockbuster trade or signing a mid-level player who helps fill a gap, even if it is a player they know they are merely ‘renting’ for the short-term.

The thought of being able to trade players mid-season leaves many with an uncomfortable feeling, for a number of reasons Occasionally, the momentum gained from a mid or late-season signing helps a team win its championship. In the AFL, clubs have a rookie list of players who can be elevated to the senior list

depending on circumstances; it has been one of the best innovations of its type in recent years, producing some wonderful players who took time to develop, and giving those on the fringe a chance to prove they might be good enough. The AFL flirted with a mid-season draft in the early 1990s, but it was hardly a success. A quick scan through the AFL Record Season Guide shows only a few familiar names in mid-season draft lists, including Sydney Swan Dale Lewis. Most selected in those handful of drafts never played at League level. The thought of being able to trade players mid-season – as was the case for many years in the VFL – leaves many with an uncomfortable feeling, for a number of reasons. At the most basic level, there’s a belief it simply erodes the connection between fan, player and club. But that sentiment ignores the game’s growing professionalism, and the growing demands of some clubs that want the ability to control their circumstances where possible and within reason. Ask a coach whether he’d want the option of replacing a lost ruckman or grabbing a specialist forward to help his team late in a season, and you know what the answer would be. It’s a complex and complicated issue – consider the ramifications for the salary cap, for example. Would only those clubs with ‘space’ in their cap have the scope to make an in-season acquisition, or would the management of the total player payment system need a total overhaul? PETER DI SISTO

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Page

1

8/09/09,

3:21

PM

MLK1016/AFL

MLK1016_AFL_R.pdf

The footy finals are in our blood.

Like all Victorians, we love this time of year. You can make it a little easier to get through the crowds and to the games by pre-purchasing your public transport tickets. Find out when all our footy mad services are running by visiting metlinkmelbourne.com.au, or call 131 638.


talkofthetown

Risk can bring rewards  Each of the past 10 premiership teams had players from other clubs, those on second or even third chances. Last year, Stuart Dew played in Hawthorn’s team after making a surprise comeback from retirement. Dew’s drafting shocked many.

T

he little sideways chip from the kick-out man after a behind is often derided, but it’s part of a sometimes-tricky strategy than can help the defending team set up a forward movement, as complicated or clumsy as we sometimes (wrongly) believe it to be. Get the first kick right – and providing other players are in the correct or beloved ‘dangerous’ positions – and the defending team is away, often unchecked. The kick-out is a hard exercise, made even more difficult because most teams now insist their forwards play with utmost

The Port Adelaide premiership player had sat out the 2007 season, apparently content in his retirement until Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson asked him to make a comeback with the Hawks. Midfielder Steven Armstrong played in West Coast’s 2006 premiership side after Melbourne showed him the door at the end of the 2005 season. Armstrong won a place on the Eagles’ rookie list before the start of the 2006 season, forced his way into their side in round 13 and went on to win

a premiership medallion as reward for his perseverance. St Kilda’s selection of ex-Eagles ruckman Michael Gardiner at the end of the 2006 season was widely questioned, and the critics got louder when he failed to play an AFL match in his first year with the Saints. He is now flying – a genuine reason St Kilda looms as one of the premiership threats. The Saints, thanks to Gardiner and another second-chancer, former Cat Steven King (right), are proving there’s reward in taking a risk. JIM MAIN

vigilance by applying pressure to the kicker and those he is trying to pinpoint. Consider how often we see the defending team struggling to get the ball out of its defensive 50 or battling to retain or regain possession after an imprecise kick or handball. Some observers believe forcing the kicking team to boot longish, say, beyond a 30m arc would create a better spectacle, with the possibility of more pure man-on-man contests. It’s probably wishful thinking, as coaches, as is their nature, would just as quickly find a way to exert pressure on the kicking

team, probably by setting up intricate zones in the middle of the ground and by dragging their forwards down to help squeeze the kicking team. Yes, some of us yearn for a full-back to channel the past and go long, maybe even with a ‘torp’ after a behind, as the likes of Blue Geoff Southby and Tiger Dick Clay often did.

Yes, some of us yearn for a full-back to channel the past and go long, maybe even with a ‘torp’ after a behind Their drop punts or torpedoes over 50-plus metres would help their teams clear the defensive area and set up an attacking thrust. But we need to remember, that’s when the game was played without the frantic speed that characterises it today, and with far fewer mobile athletes. HOWARD KOTTON AND PETER DI SISTO

34 4 AFL R RECORD RE EC COR ORD visit visi afl record.com.au rec ecord.co ecord d.co com.a m.au u

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Talkin’ ’bout an evolution*

BUMPY ROAD: St Kilda’s Brendon Goddard got his bump on Collingwood’s Dale Thomas

(left) right but in the aftermath of Lance Franklin’s bump on Ben Cousins (top left) and Matthew Lloyd’s on Brad Sewell, both players were suspended.

 The game has always evolved and always will. In its earliest days, a match was akin to a herd of fit-ish young men chasing a hunk of rough’n’ready leather around an even rougher field. Trees intruded on the ground, and the rules were pretty much as the players wanted them to be; often changing week-by-week. That was 150 years ago; not much had changed 50 years ago; not much 20 years ago. The greatest and most rapid changes have come since the penetration of cameras into the field of play. Every moment of every game is now under a scrutiny that would please security at the national mint. After much debate through the 1980s, video became an aid to the Tribunal, and five seasons ago – yes that long ago – it became pretty much the sole source

of evidence for the decisionmakers (aka the Match Review Panel) to observe and punish (or not) on-field misdemeanours. Such intense scrutiny (aided by statistics at a level never seen before) has also assisted the AFL’s lawmakers to fashion rules that not only enhance the game (eg. the deliberate rushed behind rule), but to limit dangerous aggression.

The bump will not be eliminated, as we saw in the St Kilda-Collingwood qualifying final The round 21 suspension of Lance Franklin was the latest apex of this evolution – the very public outcome of a pre-season variation to the laws made by

the AFL’s rule-shapers to protect the head of players when their opponents had options – to bump low, or preferably, to tackle hard. The outcry from the Franklin affair came from the heart of those who love the game; media types like Mike Sheahan, who not only reported his inner misgivings of the Tribunal’s decision, but gave voice to similar misgivings from many former greats of the game. The Franklin decision, they said, would change the game forever, eliminate the bump, and soften the game. The decision, for sure, will change the game forever; more players will be protected, but the bump will not be eliminated, as we saw in the St Kilda-Collingwood qualifying final, when Heath Shaw and Justin Koschitzke and Brendon Goddard and Dale Thomas met

with ferocious intensity, all with the bump, all within the rules of today. No players were carried from the ground, but the crowd was thrilled by the bravery of the players as they attacked the pill, and recovered rapidly and positively from hits that would put most of us in hospital. What we saw in rounds 21, and 22 (the Lloyd hit and suspension) were the very public consequences of law variations. The game will always change as society changes; change will always be debated with passion. One variation that may not have been considered – the responsibility on the rule-makers to make considered judgments – is now under the same scrutiny as those who play the game. That too, must be a positive. *Apologies to Tracy Chapman GEOFF SLATTERY

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talkofthetown

T

his season, Collingwood showed a remarkable ability to produce its best football on the road, defeating the Lions in Brisbane, West Coast in Perth, the Swans in Sydney and Adelaide at AAMI Stadium. The Magpies’ flawless interstate record in 2009 had some wondering whether home ground advantage is as critical as it was once perceived to be. An analysis of figures over the past decade shows that, while beating particular teams might have been an easier proposition on their home turf at certain

Aside from Geelong and Hawthorn claiming the past two premierships, Victorian clubs won 26 of 37 games against visiting teams in 2009 times, the task of winning away from home is still tough. As the table shows, home teams playing against interstate visitors won at least 50 per cent of games in 1999, 2004 and this

HOME, SWEET HOME Winning percentage

1999

2004

2009

2

80

Victorian teams at home

64

51

70

4

72

Non-Victorian teams at home

58

78

61

7

60

Overall

61

68

64

7

60

season. The closest the competition came to producing a sub-50 per cent record for a team in those three periods was in 2004, when Victorian clubs won just 51 per cent of contests at home to non-Victorian teams. In the mid-2000s, Port Adelaide, West Coast, the Brisbane Lions, Sydney Swans, Adelaide and even Fremantle – albeit briefly – proved inhospitable when hosting

Victorian teams. In 2004, the six clubs triumphed on home turf a stunning 78 per cent of the time. Some pronounced Victorian football to be in a state of crisis, but it seems clear the downturn wa was more to do with the cyclical na nature of the competition than an any inherent disadvantage. Five years on, Victorian teams tu turned the tables somewhat. As Aside from Geelong and Ha Hawthorn claiming the past two pr premierships, Victorian clubs wo won 26 of 37 games against vis visiting teams from outside the sta state in 2009. West Coast was a victim of this trend, having endured a1 19-game drought on the ro road before finally overcoming th the Western Bulldogs at Docklands in round 19. Overall, however, not much has changed – unless your club wears black and white or can tap into Mick Malthouse’s top-secret travel formula, it will likely return from interstate raids empty-handed on roughly two out of every th three occasions. ANDREW WALLACE

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For example, your photo could show you: Dressed in your team’s colours Cheering for your team at a game Face painted in your our team’s team s colourss Making a banner to support your team m BERNIE 123 Carn the mighty Hawks!

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challengingtimes

times ahead North Melbourne and Richmond are among several clubs facing a hard road to re-establish themselves as AFL forces in 2010, but in Brad Scott and Damien Hardwick, they have fresh, young coaches up for the challenge. NICK BOW EN

W

ith a new coach comes hope. Hope of a fresh start, of better times ahead. North Melbourne and Richmond are the latest clubs to feel the disappointment of a long and painful season swept away by the winds of change. In Brad Scott and Damien Hardwick respectively, the Kangaroos and Tigers have impressive, well-credentialed – albeit untried – young men to chart their courses for the next three years. But, like the Sydney Swans and Collingwood (both planning handovers of their senior coaching positions) and Gold Coast (preparing to enter the competition in 2011), both clubs, and their new coaches, face considerable challenges next year and beyond. Scott has already set himself two tasks at North Melbourne – to change the common perception it is a struggling club and to create an elite learning environment in which its players can reach their potential. Speaking at a recent function to raise money for the club’s $16 million Arden Street redevelopment, Scott said: “If there’s one thing (about the club) I could change … it would be the words ‘struggling’, ‘battling’, even ‘shinboner’.” It will be one thing for Scott to convince North insiders and supporters that the club will not face a yearly battle just to subsist as one of the League’s have-nots, and, in time, can thrive and compete on level terms with the ‘big boys’. But he faces a harder sell with the rest of the football world.

For so long, the club and its players have had to make do with facilities that have been third world compared to the opulence of Collingwood’s Lexus Centre and Adelaide’s West Lakes training headquarters – the image of a ramshackle Arden Street seemingly synonymous with the club. But Scott’s timing has been immaculate. Walking into the club when works on its new administrative and training headquarters are almost complete will make his job of changing long-held perceptions immeasurably easier. The media and its audience will see the players training in state-of-the-art facilities and, at least on one front, perceptions should start to change. Obviously, Scott will not be working alone on this image makeover. North CEO Eugene Arocca and chairman James Brayshaw are tireless and effective advocates for the club. However, Scott has a vital role in the media. His predecessor, Dean Laidley, was often criticised for his media performances, especially early in his six-and-a-half-year tenure. No one should expect Scott to be a football evangelist in the Kevin Sheedy mould – who else in the game has had that mix of zaniness and razor-sharp footy cunning? But he does need to sell his club. North has traditionally drawn low crowds and if Scott can bolster those – even slightly – cajoling and encouraging supporters to turn up by building up games, the club and his players, he can help sell a new North Melbourne, one that’s on the rise and does not play to half-empty stadiums.

If there’s one thing (about the club) I could change … it would be the words ‘struggling’, ‘battling’, even ‘shinboner’ BRAD SCOTT

Scott’s No. 1 focus will be on-field, however. “I want to create an environment, and I’m determined – and won’t stop until I do – that every player realises they’ve got every opportunity to be the best they can possibly be,” he says. Scott’s ability to create this environment, with a team of assistant coaches with a strong teaching and development focus, will be crucial to the Roos’ ability to rise back up the ladder sooner rather than later. Beyond developing the Kangaroos’ youngsters, Scott also faces challenges with the list he has inherited. How does he help Daniel Wells become the elite midfielder he has long promised to be? How does he get the best out of David Hale, who floundered as a key forward this year? Can he help Jesse Smith and Robbie Tarrant overcome recurring injuries? Solve these riddles and North Melbourne will improve immeasurably. Hardwick’s challenges at Richmond are similar, but different. Like Scott, he has inherited a list in transition that needs developing. But, unlike Scott, he walks into a club that was once one of the ‘big-four’ Victorian teams (along with Carlton, Collingwood and Essendon). In terms of profile, fan numbers and success, it was a powerhouse.

NEW DIRECTION:

Recently appointed North Melbourne coach Brad Scott hopes to change some of the perceptions about the club.

But, as long-suffering fans know only too well, recent seasons have been leaner for the Tigers than any other club in the League. Since winning their 10th premiership in 1980, the Tigers have appeared in the finals just three times – 1982, 1995 and 2001. At the press conference to announce his appointment, Hardwick said: “I think I can deliver a blueprint for success that’s going to take the Richmond Football Club to (its) 11th premiership in the not-too-distant future.” It’s a task that has already chewed up and spat out 11

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coaches since the Tigrs’ last premiership coach Tony Jewell was sacked after the 1981 season (Jewell returned for a second stint from 1986-87). Hardwick – a premiership player at Essendon (2000) and Port Adelaide (2004), and an assistant coach at Hawthorn when it clinched last year’s flag – has said he believes Richmond has the best culture in the League until he sees otherwise. New CEO Brendon Gale, the former head of the AFL Players’ Association who returned to Punt Road just two weeks before Hardwick’s appointment, will be his biggest ally in addressing

any cultural problems that come to light. In his first press conference as CEO, Gale admitted the club had some “issues” in the past but denied it had a losing culture. “I think clearly we’ve under-performed,” Gale said. “I think it’s safe to say (Richmond’s) not a big-four club now.” Hardwick has seen the type of club culture that wins premierships – and that’s the only type he’ll want at Tigerland. “Every club I’ve gone to has had a great team-first culture and that’s something I believe very strongly in,” he says.

Hardwick has made it plain one of the essential on-field planks of that culture will be an uncompromising attack on the ball – “My number one team rule is win the hard ball when it’s your turn.” Nothing revolutionary there. But matching the fanatical way the League’s best sides approach this task will be harder than it sounds. Obviously, Hardwick will need to construct a side with polish as well as toughness, something he recognises. He says he wants to improve the Tigers’ list by 10 per cent every year.

We’ve already seen him make the first hard calls in that process, letting injuryplagued veterans Nathan Brown and Mark Coughlan go. They join an exodus that already includes Kane Johnson and Joel Bowden and is likely to claim several more players before the delistings deadline expires. The injured Kayne Pettifer, Troy Simmonds and Jordan McMahon are some of the Tigers facing uncertain futures, while Andrew Raines, runner-up in Richmond’s 2006 best and fairest, has already requested to be traded. CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE

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challengingtimes Then there are the emotive decisions Hardwick faces. What does he do with favourite son Matthew Richardson? By pensioning ‘Richo’ off, Hardwick would risk casting himself as the man who poisoned Phar Lap. Fortunately, for both, Hardwick seems prepared to let Richardson decide whether he plays on. Given talls such as Jay Schulz and Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls have failed to develop as hoped, Richardson still seems to have an important role as youngsters Tyrone Vickery and Jayden Post find their feet. No less emotive will be Hardwick’s call on Graham Polak’s future. Polak’s senior comeback – after recovering from the life-threatening brain injuries he suffered when hit by a tram – was one of this year’s feel-good stories. But can he return to his best? And, if not, is he part of Richmond’s future? Ben Cousins also presents a dilemma. Although one of the Tigers’ best players in the latter stages of this season, he will turn 32 midway through 2010. But Hardwick has spoken positively about Cousins’ contribution in his first season at Punt Road, and will also be mindful he needs some old heads to show the way for precocious young midfield talents Brett Deledio and Trent Cotchin. Port Adelaide is also at the crossroads. Surprising when you think it was just two years ago Mark Williams guided a young side to the Grand Final. Williams’ contract has been extended for a further two years, and the Power are looking to appoint a senior assistant coach, with former North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley looming as a likely candidate. However, the club has ruled a Sydney Swans or Collingwoodstyle coaching succession plan after considering that option. In fact, the search will be headed by Williams

TIME FOR CHANGE:

One of Damien Hardwick’s first jobs at Richmond is a thorough review of the playing list.

himself together with football operations manager Peter Rohde who met Laidley last Tuesday. The club, born from the most successful and identifiable club in the SANFL, is battling to carve a niche for itself in the AFL landscape. In a state obsessed with the Crows, it must sell itself as an attractive club to be a part of, both for fans and sponsors. In 2010, the Swans will also prepare for a change in senior coach, with John Longmire confirmed to succeed Paul Roos in 2011. Given the longstanding Roos-Longmire working relationship, a smooth transition can be expected. However, the on-field transition facing the Swans may not be as smooth. After

Every club I’ve gone to has had a great team-first culture and that’s something I believe very strongly in DAMIEN HARDWICK

missing the finals for the first time since 2002, key forwards Barry Hall and Michael O’Loughlin will have to be replaced, along with fellow premiership players Leo Barry and Jared Crouch. And with Brett Kirk turning 33 in October, and Jude Bolton, Craig Bolton and Adam Goodes all 30 next year, the Swans will need to unearth more youngsters to support the promising Jesse White, Kieren

Jack and Daniel Hannebery. Especially when Roos has often stated that if the Swans want to maintain their level of support in Sydney, they cannot afford to bottom out. But if you think any of the above challenges are daunting, spare a thought for Gold Coast and its coach Guy McKenna. McKenna has a season in the VFL next year to mould his side of youngsters – admittedly they are some of the brightest talents in the nation – into a team that will be competitive in the AFL in 2011. He will be able to add uncontracted stars from AFL teams to that group, but it’s still a big task. Then again, these are the sorts of challenges AFL coaches and clubs seem to relish.

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FINALS WEEK TWO

BOMBER GROUNDED:

John Coleman was at his high-flying best when he was suspended for the 1951 finals series. This is an image of him playing at Windy Hill in the early 1950s, and it appeared on the cover of the AFL Record in 2007.

YO U B E T T E R B E L I E V E I T

Bombers lose their pilot Essendon star John Coleman was suspended for the 1951 finals at an emotional Tribunal hearing. J IMM A IN

E

ssendon fans went into shock on the eve of the 1951 finals series when champion full-forward John Coleman was suspended for four matches. Coleman was reported in the final round match against Carlton at Princes Park and the Bombers, third on the ladder, had to go into the final series without him. Although Essendon defeated Footscray by eight points in the first semi-final and Collingwood by two points in the preliminary final, Geelong downed the Bombers by 11 points in the Grand Final. And all with Coleman as an onlooker because he had retaliated following niggling tactics by Carlton defender Harry Caspar. Although Coleman was pitted against Carlton full-back Ollie Grieve in that match, Caspar baited the Essendon champion every time he went near him. Coleman finally snapped in the second quarter and, even though Caspar clearly was the instigator, both players were reported by goal umpire Roy Allen and boundary umpire Herb Kent. Coleman was so upset at being reported that he told coach Dick Reynolds at half-time that he did not want to return to the field and threw his guernsey on to the dressing-room floor. Reynolds coaxed Coleman into finishing the match and his seven goals gave him 75 for the season.

However, he and Caspar had to front the VFL Tribunal at Harrison House, Spring Street, on the Monday night before the first semi-final. Caspar’s case was heard first and the Carlton defender

claimed he merely had remonstrated with Coleman. He said: “I pushed him, and he pushed me.” Both Allen and Kent told the Tribunal they saw Caspar twice strike Coleman, with the

Essendon player retaliating with a closed fist. Allen said: “I definitely say that Coleman shaped up and let go at Caspar. But I tell you it was only provocation that he did so.” Coleman, who pleaded not

42 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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VIEWS VIEW WS > NEWS > FIRST PERSON > FACTS > DATA > CULTURE

guilty, told the Tribunal: “I had no reason to strike any player and, with the finals coming on, I knew what consequences I could expect if I deliberately punched an opponent.” Both Caspar and Coleman were found guilty and each was suspended for four matches. The repercussions for Essendon were massive, and Coleman knew it. He broke down and cried as he was led from Harrison House by Bomber committeeman Ted Waterford and bundled into a car. Hundreds of Essendon fans outside Harrison House booed and hooted the Tribunal decision but, in that era, there was no appeal system. Coleman at one stage was bowled over by the pushing and shoving and had to be helped to his feet. Newspapers the next day ran editorials on the “severity” of Coleman’s punishment and there even were suggestions the heart-broken star would retire from football. Of course, he did play again, but was forced into retirement in 1954 when he seriously injured a knee in a match against North Melbourne. D I D YO U K N O W

QUICK FACT

 John Coleman considered playing with Richmond before he made a sensational 12-goal debut for Essendon in an opening round match against Hawthorn in 1949.

1958 FIRS T SEMI-FINAL

Coach Len Smith had a simple style BEN COL LINS

L

en Smith made a huge impact in his first season as coach of Fitzroy in 1958. The elder brother of Melbourne’s supercoach Norm Smith, he lifted the Lions from second-bottom (11th) in 1957 to third in 1958. Among Fitzroy’s 13 wins were drubbings of his brother’s triple reigning premier Demons (by

thebounce MOTIVATOR:

Fitzroy coach Len Smith (right), pictured with his famous brother Norm, delivered a stirring address before the 1958 first semi-final.

41 points) and eventual premier Collingwood (48 points). Although Len Smith was regarded as an overnight sensation, he boasted many years of coaching experience, albeit at junior level. In fact, he had a similar coaching pedigree to Denis Pagan (North Melbourne’s dual premiership coach of the 1990s), having been in charge of Fitzroy’s thirds (under-19s) for the previous nine seasons, winning a premiership in 1955 (when he and Norm became the only pair of brothers to win VFL premierships in the same season). While it took his brother six seasons to reach the finals as a coach, Len achieved that milestone in his debut season, guiding Fitzroy to the top four for the first time in six years. (In the five seasons before Smith’s appointment, the Lions had averaged just six wins.) They faced North Melbourne in the 1958 first semi-final at the MCG. They had belted North twice during the season – by 120 and 31 points respectively – but this clash was always going to be closer as Fitzroy was without stars Kevin Murray and Don Furness and was not suited by the heavy conditions. A month before the match, Smith had suffered the first of three heart attacks (one of which ultimately claimed his life in 1967 at the age of 55). However, his oratory that day (which was recorded at the time for a vinyl LP) portrayed anything but frailty. Although the content of Smith’s pre-match and half-

I believe that you are good and I believe that you are going (to go) out there and give everything that you’ve got LEN SMITH

time addresses sound simple by today’s standards, the printed word perhaps doesn’t do justice to the power and passion of his almost Churchillian delivery. Nonetheless, it is a precious recording of the man who is regarded as ‘the father of modern football’, mainly because of the emphasis he placed on handpassing and fast, play-on football. PRE-MATCH

Smith: “All right, lads, the big day has arrived; a real big day as far as we’re concerned. I’ve told you before we’ve come a long way. You’ve achieved something which many a good footballer hasn’t achieved and that is to run out on the Melbourne ground in a semi-final for your club. It is something to be proud of and something you have earned. I told you last night you’ve come from everywhere and formed yourself into a club, a wonderful club, chaps. A club not great in numbers but good. Something good is the core, and you boys are the core of this club. And I believe that you are good and I believe that you are going (to go) out there and give everything that you’ve got. Everything that you’ve got – not 90 per cent – to bring this club success. To do it, lads, you’ve got to go in against very worthy

opponents. They’re going to be tough, they’re going to be hard. We talked about plans last night; we had it all worked out, and we know very well that at North they want to win it every bit as much as you. But I feel that they will crack under the strain and fall into their old habits of giving free kicks ... IF you make them earn their kicks the hard way. IF, when they get the ball, that you’re going to tackle them and you’re not going to let them get away with it easy. IF you keep in front of your man and take advantage of that ground. All the ifs in the world, lads, and it’s only talk, possibly forgotten once you run out on the ground. There it is, an achievement of this club. I don’t know whether it’s had parallel before, but we’ve got it now.” (Recording ends abruptly.) The players lined up opposite each other as God Save The Queen played over loudspeakers. When it finished, a mighty roar followed. Fitzroy started with three quick goals and led by seven points at quarter-time. They led by one point at half-time – 4.7 (31) to 4.6 (30). In what a reporter described as “an atmosphere resembling brigade headquarters at the height of a battle”, Smith spoke to his players in the changerooms. (It’s important to note that coaches weren’t permitted to address players at quarter-time or three-quarter time until 1964.) CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE

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VIEWS > NEWS > FIRST PERSON > FACTS > DATA > CULTURE

HALF-TIME

Smith: “Before the game, we had a hundred minutes of football in front of us (and we were) levelpegging. We’ve got 50 minutes of football in front of us now and we’re still level-pegging. Everything is in front of you, lads, and (in) the next half we’ve got to go out and give everything we’ve got. We may have plans and they come unstuck a wee bit, but surely we’ve learned. I’ve told you all the time that you’ll learn by mistakes. Our plan is to have a man hovering around Tony (Ongarello, full-forward). We knew damn well the ball would be punched away from him and our forward-pocket/rover had to be there, Graham (Campbell) and Wally (Clark). The ball is to be delivered to Tony pretty high with that man hovering around for the crumbs. We worked that one out, didn’t we? The next thing to do when you get possession of the ball, lads, (is) you’ve got to look where you’re kicking. You’ve got to look and say: ‘I kicked the ball to my teammate.’

Everything is in front of you, lads, and (in) the next half we’ve got to go out and give everything we’ve got LEN SMITH

Our play-on game proved to me conclusively, and should have proved to you conclusively, (it) is the only way we can play. We kicked three goals quick-smart by playing on. Every time you lads get a mark or a free kick and you go back and have your kick, you’re damaging the side’s chances of winning this match. Do you understand that, lads? Our type of football is such that we must have someone running past. It must be played on. We must go flat out with the ball, with a man coming around. I don’t care where it is. Now (North rover Allen) Aylett, we said, was a danger, and he is a danger, and anyone will be a danger if they’re left on their own. You rovers who are on the ball, I know there’s problems created out there. I know he stays in the centre, but he is your man. He is the best footballer in the League today, so they say, and therefore FINALS FACTS

he cannot be left on his own. So Aylett, when you’re on the ball, is the man to be minded. Understand that, rovers. I could put up with the strain for another three weeks. I’d love to put up with the strain because we’ve got that much behind us, lads, and only a little bit in front of us. And isn’t it worth climbing over all the (Noel) Teasdales and (John) Bradys and (Bob) Wiltshires and (Bryan) Martyns to try and get there? To get the target. What is the target? It’s a good win, (and) it’s the premiership if we’re good enough. But to get to the premiership, get over this one, boys, and all the guts …” (Players and supporters drown him out with their roars of encouragement.) The Lions trailed by 19 points midway through the final term, but regained the lead in time-on, only to go down by four points – 10.10 (70) to 9.12 (66) – in what one commentator described as “one of the most remarkable and exciting tussles in the history of football”.

EXHIBITION

WEG posted a tradition J IM M A IN

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hen Melbourne artist William Ellis Green – WEG – reached for his brushes immediately after the 1954 VFL Grand Final, he inadvertently launched one of football’s greatest traditions. He painted the first of the WEG premiership posters for the Herald newspaper, celebrating Footscray’s first (and only) premiership. The WEG posters were supposed to help boost sales of the Grand Final edition of the Herald, and Bulldogs fans inundated newsagencies to get copies. WEG posters were produced each season from then, with Hawthorn’s 2008 poster the last he created before his death on December 29 last year. The 55 WEG premiership posters are on display at

MEMORIES: Former Carlton star John Nicholls with the Blues’ 1972 WEG poster.

a special exhibition at the National Sports Museum at the MCG until November 1. The exhibition honours the magnificent career of one of Australian football’s greatest identities. Green’s ability to capture Australia’s personalities and history spanned more than 60 years, in many spheres beyond sport. As WEG, he produced thousands of cartoons and caricatures for the Herald and, apart from his premiership posters, was famous for his Mr Melbourne cartoons highlighting everyday events in his home city and his WEG’s Day featured in each edition of the Herald. However, it was his contribution to Australian Football’s heritage that he is most remembered, especially as proceeds of the posters were donated to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, raising more than $2 million. Green was honoured with an Order of Australia Award for his generous donations towards his favourite charity and never complained that many of the earlier posters changed hands for hundreds of dollars. The WEG exhibition also features several “losing team” posters, rarities because most were pulped after the final siren. Green’s favourite premiership posters featured his beloved Essendon and he often admitted that his heart beat a little faster when he was drawing an Essendon premiership poster. AFL club members receive a 10 per cent discount on entry and match-day tickets holders receive 50 per cent off.

M I LE S T O N E S – W E E K T WO

50 games Ivan Maric Adelaide Mick Malthouse Collingwood Malthouse is set to coach his 42nd final, joining Tom Hafey on the list of most finals coached, behind Jock McHale (59) and Kevin Sheedy (43). Jason Akermanis Western Bulldogs  Akermanis is due to play his 27th final. He will join Harry Collier (Collingwood), Dick Reynolds (Essendon), Kevin Bartlett (Richmond) and Martin Pike (Melbourne, North Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions) in the top 10. The list includes those not necessarily selected but on the verge of milestones.

39 Most finals games umpired

Jack Elder holds the record for most finals – Hayden Kennedy umpired his 38th final last week.

Roo Wayne Schimmelbusch and Hawk Leigh Matthews hold the record for most consecutive finals (29).

44 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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RETIREMENT BOLD PLAN

SE MI-FINALS

217

BOWING OUT:

Pies thwart ‘world’ series

Tim Notting will retire at the end of the Lions’ finals campaign.

The number of semi-finals since the first, in 1901, between Essendon and Fitzroy at Victoria Park and Geelong and Collingwood at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground.

C A L LU M T WOMEY

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elevision has long played an important role in the promotion of Australian Football. In 1965, Melbourne’s Channel 0 (later to become Channel Ten) put a proposal to the Victorian Football League hierarchy to stage a $10,000 ‘World Football Series’ between the premiership teams from Victorian, West Australian, South Australian and Tasmanian competitions. As well as broadcasting the matches, Channel 0 guaranteed to cover the $10,000 prizemoney and all additional costs for the tournament. It was proposed the series be played at St Kilda’s Moorabbin home ground on the weekend of October 16-17. Two teams would play in the morning on the Saturday and the other two in the afternoon. The losers of Saturday’s games would play off on Sunday morning and the winners on Sunday afternoon to determine the winner. However, as it was suggested only a short time before the VFL finals started, the response from the top four clubs in Melbourne was lukewarm. St Kilda and Geelong were keen, Essendon unsure, and Collingwood, mainly because of a pre-arranged trip to Japan, all but ruled itself out. Magpies secretary Jack Burns explained the club’s hesitation over the series. “If we win the premiership, we wouldn’t be too happy about the second best side taking our place in the series and being hailed as the top football team in Australia if it wins,” he said. St Kilda, however, said it would be prepared to change the date of its end-of-season trip to Fiji to comply if the series went ahead. After some deliberation, the League rejected the proposal because the Magpies did not want to be involved, but invited the television station to submit another proposal at a later date. FINALS FACTS

QUICK FACTS

966,194 The number of fans who have watched semi-finals since 1999. The highest attendance of 88,456 was for the MelbourneSt Kilda first semi-final at the MCG in 1998.

170

The Brisbane Bears’ 26.14 (170) against Carlton in the second semi-final at the Gabba in 1996 is the highest score.

Notting to end his Lion days  Brisbane Lions utility Tim Notting has announced his retirement, effective at the end of the club’s finals series. Notting told teammates of his decision to retire early this week, ending a 13-year association with the Lions. “I have been thinking about retirement for quite a while now,” Notting said. “I eventually came to the realisation that I probably did not have the drive to complete another pre-season. “I am incredibly proud to have been a part of this football club for the past 13 years and I am really going to miss being part of it all.” Lions coach Michael Voss paid tribute to Notting, saying he had made an enormous contribution to the club. “There are only a small percentage of people who can sustain such longevity in this tough business and it’s a credit to him that he has been an important part of our club for well over a decade.” The 30-year-old has played 207 games since making his debut in 1998. He featured in the club’s 2001-02 premiership teams. Brisbane nominated Notting as the No. 26 selection at

the 1996 National AFL Draft, the first draft following the Brisbane Bears-Fitzroy merger. From Victorian country club Stawell, he became one of the Lions’ most versatile players, able to play in the midfield or in a key position at either end of the ground. When Notting played his 200th AFL game in round 10 against North Melbourne at Docklands Stadium, he became only the 26th player in club history (Fitzroy and the Bears included) to reach the milestone. Notting was an AFL Rising Star nominee in 1999, was third in the best and fairest in 2007 and the previous year was named in the Lions’ Team of the Decade. Hawthorn key-position player Tim Boyle also announced his retirement this week. Boyle, 25, played 31 games for the Hawks after being picked at No. 51 in the 2002 draft. From Leopold and the Geelong Falcons, his career was severely hampered by injuries, including a broken leg suffered in a preseason training session and a serious knee injury in a VFL match earlier this season. JIM MAIN

118

Richmond’s 118-point thrashing of Geelong in the 1969 first semi-final at the MCG is the biggest winning margin.

23

Carlton’s 3.5 (23) in the 1903 first-semi-final against Collingwood at the Brunswick Street Oval is the lowest score.

11

Hauls of 11 goals, by Carlton’s Harry Vallence in the 1931 first semi-final against Collingwood at the MCG and by Geelong’s George Goninon against the Magpies in the 1951 second semi-final at the MCG are the biggest in semi-finals.

109

The number of charges laid from semi-finals, with 77 guilty verdicts and a total of 408 matches in suspensions.

Of the 20 players who have kicked 50 or more goals in finals, Collingwood’s Ron Todd has the best average (five). AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 45

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VIEWS > NEWS > FIRST PERSON > FACTS > DATA > CULTURE

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PHOTO: RON LOCKENS/JUST PHOTOGRAPHY

E N T E R TA I N M E N T

Legends to rock Grand Final A NDR EW WA L L ACE

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he competing teams may not yet be decided, but the AFL has locked in the off-field line-up for the Grand Final pre-match entertainment in a fortnight’s time. Following the performance by Powderfinger last year, Australian rock legends Jimmy Barnes and Mark Seymour will be the headline musical acts this season, an appropriate choice considering both have produced hits that have transcended into Australian Football anthems. Barnes has been a staple of the Australian music industry for 30 years, and this week stepped into the record books by securing his ninth No. 1 Australian Record Industry

SHOW-STOPPERS: Jimmy Barnes (left) and the cast from Jersey Boys will perform at this year’s Grand Final.

Association (ARIA) album as a solo artist with his latest album The Rhythms and The Blues. Combined with his four chart toppers from his Cold Chisel days, Barnes has had more No. 1 albums in Australia than any other artist. For 18 years, Seymour was lead singer of hugely successful Melbourne band Hunters and Collectors. The band enjoyed cult status among football fans, with its hit Holy Grail becoming

an unofficial footy anthem. Seymour recently released his fifth solo album, Westgate. Barnes and Seymour will be joined by another household name, Paul Kelly, to perform post-match entertainment at Centre Square, the corporate hospitality village located in Birrarung Marr. “Our thanks to CUB and Carlton Natural Blonde for bringing these two icons to the last Saturday in September,”

said Paul Waldren, the AFL’s general manager of marketing and commercial operations. Also this year, the cast of Melbourne stage show Jersey Boys, including Bobby Fox, Scott Johnson, Glaston Toft and Stephen Mahy, will perform the national anthem, Advance Australia Fair, in front of a likley crowd in excess of 100,000 and an estimated global television audience of 100 million.

A N A LY S I S

THE GODFATHER OF STATS

Ted Hopkins

Founder of Champion Data and Carlton premiership player GOOD KICKS WORTH PURE GOLD  The Godfather salutes NAB Rising Star winner Daniel Rich. Those who witnessed his blistering final quarter for the Brisbane Lions against Carlton at the Gabba last weekend could see why he received the award. Rich had a mere five kicks for the final quarter. The three he had forward of centre were instrumental in turning the tide in favour of Brisbane, and confirming a Godfather golden rule: good kicks are worth their weight in gold. Brisbane obtained a bargain recruiting Rich at No. 7 last year. His potential was outlined in the fourth edition of AFL Prospectus: “A proven ball winner … apart from his kicking, Rich’s ability to regularly deliver the ball inside 50, apply pressure on the opposition, impact the scoreboard and win the ball at stoppages are elite.”

FINALS FACTS

A THIRD NORM SMITH?  At the AMMI Stadium match between Adelaide and Essendon, fans were treated to the sublime foot skills of veteran champion Andrew McLeod. Frankly, if McLeod – already famous for his silky skills and winning successive Norm Smith Medals and d premiership medallions allions in 1997-98 – keepss going at the current ratee of knots, the Adelaide de flyer could easily bag a third Norm Smith. McLeod and Adelaide havee responded in admirable irable bl fashion since losing ng to Collingwood at home ome by 21 points in round und 19. Opponents beware ware – McLeod has returned ned to the peak form of past seasons, returning to his former ormer midfield hunting territory.

Crows stepping up the tempo ROUNDS 12-19 Uncontested Possessions Contested Possessions ROUNDS 20-23 Uncontested Unconteste Possessions Possession Contested Contes Con tested ted Possessions Possession

Adelaide

Opposition

Difference

286

270

+16

114

112

+2

Adelaide

Opposition

Difference

290

254

+26

121

109

+12

In the past four games, he averaged eight inside 50s and 11 unique score involvements in Adelaide scoring chains, representing 33 per cent of the team’s total scoring. No other player in the competition has had the overall scoring influence. Of his 23 inside-50 kicks in the past four games,

an exceptional 83 per cent have been retained by a teammate. Adelaide’s increased tempo in the past four games compared to rounds 12-19 is highlighted above. Note the recent jump in uncontested and contested possessions differences between the Crows and their opposition.

INFLUENTIAL: Andrew McLeod

has been a key for the Crows.

Demon Frank Adams and Hawks Chris Mew and Chris Langford share the record for playing in the most consecutive finals series (11). AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 47

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WHO BEST EMBODIES COURAGE, INITIATIVE AND TEAMWORK? There is only one medallion that embodies the spirit of courage, initiative and teamwork – the AFL Army Award. Awards on Monday 14th September. The AFL Army Award received over 30,000 votes from the public during the 2009 Toyota AFL Premiership Season and the Army is proud to have been associated with this prestigious award.

ARF2 p076-ADF Ad.indd 1

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With your voting now complete, it all comes down to the big announcement at the Four’N Twenty All-Australian

9/9/09 6:24:35 PM


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eek one of the 2009 finals series was highlighted by an epic comeback by the Brisbane Lions in their elimination final against Carlton. Playing in their first final since 2004 and under new coach Michael Voss, the Lions overcame a record 30-point margin early in the last quarter to storm to a thrilling victory and keep their

perfect finals record at the Gabba intact. The top two teams, St Kilda and Geelong, showed why queries about their suspect form leading into September were off the mark. The Cats and Saints did exactly what was needed when the time came, efficiently disposing of the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood respectively in successive days at the MCG. Following their harsh reality checks, the Magpies and the Bulldogs must regroup for

knockout semi-finals, with the Pies up against the in-form Adelaide and the Dogs facing the Brisbane Lions. The Crows’ demolition of Essendon propelled Neil Craig’s team on to the third line of betting for the flag, with many experts believing it has all the ingredients to seriously challenge for a third premiership. On the following pages, the AFL Record looks back at how the first four finals panned out. A NDR EW WA L L ACE

ROAR POWER: Inspirational skipper Jonathan Brown

was at his awesome best in the Brisbane Lions’ amazing come-from-behind win against Carlton, much to the delight of teammate Rhan Hooper. AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 77

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finalsreviews

1ST QUALIFYING FINAL St Kilda 12.8 (80) d. Collingwood 7.10 (52)

Saints were always in control After showing some early resistance, Collingwood could not match St Kilda when it counted as Nick Riewoldt guided his team through to the preliminary final. A NDR EW WA L L ACE

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qualifying final between teams coached by Ross Lyon and Mick Malthouse is unlikely to produce a free-flowing spectacle – an even less likely outcome on a gloomy, blustery Sunday at the MCG. With St Kilda and Collingwood finishing the home and away season as the first and second-ranked teams defensively, the contest was always going to be about which side could strangle the life out of its opponent before being strangled itself. Malthouse had predicted during the build-up that 13 goals could be enough to win through to a preliminary final, and his guess was close to the mark – St Kilda’s 12 was plenty. The game, and the anxiety of long-suffering Saints fans, was put to rest at about the eight-minute mark of the final quarter. Until that emphatic moment, there had been a sense of uncertainty among St Kilda supporters, despite their side finishing the home and away season with 20 wins and appearing to have the better of an out-of-sorts Collingwood for much of the day. The self-doubt was understandable – consider that only those nearing or surpassing the age of 60 would have a clear,

first-hand recollection of the club’s sole premiership in 1966. But with the 2009 team leading the Pies by 22 points with less than 14 minutes remaining in a low-scoring affair, it was time to start seriously dreaming of a second. A Collingwood turnover at centre half-back gave Saint Raphael Clarke the chance to sweep a long handball into the path of captain Nick Riewoldt, who had tormented the Magpies defence and ever-reliable veteran key defender Simon Prestigiacomo without respite. Chased by Alan Didak, Riewoldt ran on to the Sherrin in the forward pocket at the Punt Road end and threw it on to his right boot, with intent.

Only those nearing or surpassing the age of 60 would have a clear, first-hand recollection of the club’s sole premiership in 1966 While the majority of the 84,213 fans at the ground waited expectantly for the goal umpire’s movements to indicate where the snap was headed, a pro-St Kilda section of fans in the Great Southern Stand was right behind the kick. The contingent of red, white and black erupted a full second before the rest at the ground could join the celebration of their star skipper’s fifth major and an insurmountable 28-point lead. The first flocks of Magpie fans shuffled from the aisles to escape the scene of CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE

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SUPER SAINT: In a Superman-like pose,

Justin Koschitzke takes this fine mark over (from left) teammate Michael Gardiner and Magpies Travis Cloke, Leigh Brown and Harry O’Brien. AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 79

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The black and whites, coming off 12 wins in their past 14 games, had threatened early in the second term jumping, to a 15-point break

CAUGHT: Magpie John McCarthy felt the full force of Nick Riewoldt’s driving ambition to lead St Kilda to its first premiership since 1966.

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finalsreviews yet another September disappointment, however, realists in the Collingwood camp would have known their club’s fate long before Riewoldt’s final stroke of genius. With floating defender Sam Fisher controlling the back half, midfielder Lenny Hayes displaying a combination of hardness and brilliance and the classy Nick Dal Santo also breaking free, an upset victory by Collingwood was always going to be improbable at best. The black and whites, coming off 12 wins in their past 14 games, had threatened early in the second term, jumping to a 15-point break on the back of a strong contested mark and goal by veteran Anthony Rocca, a surprise selection after a long injury break. For a brief moment, memories came flooding back of Rocca’s eight-goal humiliation of opponent Zac Dawson when the Saints defender was at Hawthorn in 2006. But that was a different club, a different time and Dawson is now a more composed player. Rocca, 32, managed only one more goal for the match, hobbling from the field with an ankle injury late in the final term. In all, the ball entered the Collingwood forward 50 zone on only 34 occasions, with on-ballers Didak, Shane O’Bree and Leon Davis subdued and the important Scott Pendlebury suffering a broken fibula in the opening moments of the contest. Incredibly, St Kilda racked up 439 possessions to the Magpies’ 274 across the four quarters.The Saints’ complete control of the game brought to mind Adelaide coach Neil Craig’s comments after his team suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Saints in round 16. “We needed to get hold of the footy, just to find out if it was a Sherrin or Faulkner,” Craig said jokingly. After two late-season losses to Essendon and North Melbourne, St Kilda rediscovered the ruthless, all-ground pressure. Just as importantly, the Saints showed their gameplan can hold up in September at the MCG, a venue they had only frequented once during the home and away season. Collingwood, meanwhile, meets the in-form Adelaide in a semi-final and must win to stay alive in a finals series that shaped so promisingly just three weeks ago.

LEAVE IT TO ME: Lenny Hayes

was at his brilliant best as he turned the qualifying final against Collingwood on its head with his insatiable appetite for the contest.

Hayes, the ultimate competitor  As Lenny Hayes won yet another contested possession in the game-changing second quarter of last Sunday’s qualifying final, Garry Lyon could not contain his excitement. Speaking on Triple M radio, Lyon said if he had to choose his best Australian Football team of all-time, Hayes would be one of the first names on the team sheet. It was praise of the highest order from a respected commentator and, in that sentence, Lyon summed up the views of so many: wouldn’t you love to have Hayes in your side? Collingwood fans, in particular, must have been thinking that as Hayes and midfield sidekick Leigh Montagna took the game by the scruff of the neck.

The thought probably crossed Mick Malthouse’s mind, too, as his midfield – missing the services of the injured Scott Pendlebury – failed to have any significant impact on the match. Standing up when his side needs him most has been a trait of Hayes throughout his career. So many times when a game has been in the balance, his gut-running and insatiable hunger for the ball have proved the difference. Last Sunday, when the doubts were just starting to surface after an uncharacteristically subdued first quarter from the Saints, the vice-captain answered the call once more. At times like this, Hayes’ appetite for the contest appears frenzied. He takes control. He urges others.

He demands the ball. If his teammates won’t give it to him, he’s just as happy – no, probably happier – to go and get it himself. In the crucial second and third quarters, Hayes had 20 disposals, more than anyone else on the field in that period. The game’s momentum was turned on its head, as the Saints transformed an eight-point quarter-time deficit into a 10-point lead at the main break, then extended the advantage to 17 at the final change. By game’s end, Hayes had a game-high 11 contested possessions. From his disposals, the Saints gained 658 metres on the field, the biggest haul from any player. Skipper Nick Riewoldt provided the glamour with his five goals up forward; the vice-captain delivered the grunt in the engine room. Five years ago, a 24-year-old Hayes captained St Kilda in a finals campaign that ended in a galling six-point preliminary final loss to Port Adelaide. It’s hard to imagine him letting another chance slip by. JOHN MURRAY

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finalsreviews W H AT T H E C O AC H E S S A I D BODY ON THE LINE: Magpie Heath

Shaw’s courage and commitment could not get his team across the line against the powerful Saints.

Ross Lyon ST KILDA I thought it was a battle all day and at no stage did I think we were safe. We trained with purpose. They were really sharp in absorbing the opposition information when they were asked questions. They were able to respond really quickly and there were a number of them answering. The energy and focus was really there. This is the game we wanted to be in. That’s what footy clubs exist for – for these sorts of games. It’s two hours of footy that’s furthered us in the competition, which is the aim, so we get to prepare for a preliminary final week, which has its own challenges.

Mick Malthouse

Shaw played with genuine focus  The fact Collingwood’s best two players in its disappointing loss to St Kilda were defenders says much about the Magpies’ day. With the Saints controlling possession, and Pie playmakers Dane Swan, Alan Didak, Leon Davis and Shane O’Bree all subdued, the Collingwood defensive unit was put under enormous pressure in the presence of key targets Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke, with small forwards Adam Schneider and Stephen Milne also lurking dangerously. However, Magpies skipper Nick Maxwell stood tall – as he has done all year – and was ably assisted by the skilful and courageous Heath Shaw.

That the Saints finished with only 12 goals for the day and the final margin did not blow out well beyond 28 points is testament to the pair’s ability to read the play, back their judgment and show the conviction to keep trying to create. Shaw, it seemed, relished the chance to again be involved in finals action after watching on from the stands last year due to a club-imposed suspension. The 23-year-old has averaged 23 possessions for Collingwood this season, leading the club and ranking fifth in the AFL for rebounds from 50. With the qualifying final heating up in the second term and the top-of-the-ladder St Kilda starting to show glimpses of its best, Shaw

demonstrated why Australian Football should never be thought a game for the faint-hearted. Consider that the son of former Magpie skipper Ray stands at 184cm and weighs 84kg – a full 13cm and 12kg shy of big Saint Koschitzke. When yet another long ball was pumped into St Kilda’s forward half with the Magpies clinging to a two-point lead, Shaw’s eyes did not deviate from the football as he charged into the contest, despite Koschitzke’s thunderous approach. The pair met with a force that sent a gasp around the huge MCG crowd, but Shaw did not hit the ground and double over in agony as so many expected. The backman’s focus was still solely on the ball bobbing dangerously in the open, and he lunged to tap it to a teammate to clear the defensive zone. While Shaw’s inspirational effort could not lift his side to greater deeds on the day, he finished with 21 disposals to be the Magpies’ second-highest possession-gatherer, and looms as a key if the Pies are to advance any further this September.

COLLINGWOOD Are we down in the mouth? I would have thought anyone who’s lost a game is of course going to be disappointed, and hopefully bitterly disappointed. That’s the art of showing some courage in getting back. I wouldn’t have thought that because you lose a game, you turn your toes up. That would be a total indictment on the quality of the person and the club. We’re not going to be the first side that’s ever lost a qualifying final, and you want to recover. You want to get back in there. We have got – and we have earned the right because we finished top four – another game. That’s incentive enough. We have got a very good record in tight, close duels with Adelaide.

ANDREW WALLACE

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finalsreviews

2ND QUALIFYING FINAL Geelong 14.12 (96) d. Western Bulldogs 12.10 (82)

Cats back in familiar mood Men on a mission as big stage brings out the best in Geelong. NICK BOW EN

T

here’s a perceptible change in the atmosphere leading into a final. Yes, the national anthem makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, but it’s the knowledge of what’s at stake that really stirs the emotions. And in last Saturday’s second qualifying final, there was more on the line for Geelong and the Western Bulldogs than just a preliminary final berth and a week off. For the Cats, there was the motivation of wanting to go down in history as one of the great teams of the modern era. To do so, they realised they had to add at least one more premiership to their 2007 flag. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were eyeing the chance to make an assault on their second premiership, and first since 1954. Despite patchy recent form, the Cats seemed inspired to be on the finals stage again, slipping straight into the irresistible brand of fast-running, handball-happy football that had been their trademark since 2007. With Geelong dominating general play, most of the quarter was played in its forward half. Often when Dogs defenders were set to launch a counter-attack, they would look up and find no one inside their forward 50 to kick to.

The signs for the Cats were far more promising. Paul Chapman had entered the game under an injury cloud but started the game strongly, having two early shots for goal. With delivery into the Bulldogs’ forward line haphazard, veteran Geelong defenders Corey Enright, who had an astonishing 17 possessions for the term, and Darren Milburn were mopping up everything in sight. The concerns for the Bulldogs were not only limited to the scoreboard – the Cats led by 28 points at the end of the quarter – with Robert Murphy, so important to their forward line in his creative lead-up role, momentarily hobbling off the ground midway through the term with a knee problem. Things looked even more ominous for the Bulldogs early in the second quarter when Chapman marked and goaled to extend the Cats’ lead to 34 points. But the Dogs were gifted a goal when Shaun Higgins capitalised on a 50m penalty, and a change came over the game. The Bulldogs started to find more of the ball and finally put Geelong on the back foot. But with no key forward, and the Cats still applying considerable pressure around the ground, the Dogs struggled to find an avenue to goal, often kicking long into their forward 50 only for a Cats defender to repel the attack. The two highest-scoring sides in the competition during the home and away season – the Bulldogs were No. 1 – scored just one more goal between them for the quarter (kicked by Bulldog Stephen Hill at the 19-minute CON T IN U ED PAGE 86

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TIGHT-KNIT: The Cats bonded before the game and managed to turn around their recent patchy form, jumping to a 28-point lead by quarter-time. PHOTO: GREG FORD/SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP

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finalsreviews mark), showcasing just how much the defensive pressure goes up in finals. The term was not without its highlights, however, as Geelong star Gary Ablett and Bulldog Scott Welsh rose to take speccies – over Nathan Eagleton and Jimmy Bartel respectively – within minutes of each other. Early in the third quarter, the Bulldogs seemed ready to break the Cats’ hold on their leash, when Jason Akermanis kicked two goals in little more than a minute to reduce the deficit to nine points. The first of these was a superb kick from about 45 metres out near the boundary, the second a clinical finish after marking on the lead. Few players in memory have matched Akermanis’ ability to kick straight under pressure. And few players have matched Ablett for his ability to take control of a game in the midfield. Recognising the Dogs were starting to get a sniff, Ablett imposed himself on the contest.

ON THE PROWL: Andrew

Mackie is part of a more settled back six combination for the Cats.

With the last two goals of the quarter, the Cats took a comfortable 35-point lead into the final break Twice in a couple of minutes he streamed forward to hit Cats forwards with pinpoint passes, the first on his non-preferred left foot to Cameron Mooney, the second a centring kick from hard on the boundary to Brad Ottens. Another of Geelong’s midfield stars, Joel Selwood, imposed himself on the game in a different way minutes later. Often on the receiving end of high tackles, Selwood turned transgressor when, in the space of 90 seconds, he twice tackled Lindsay Gilbee around the neck. With the last two goals of the quarter, the Cats took a seemingly comfortable 35-point lead into the final break. The Bulldogs closed to within 13 points at the 21-minute mark of the final quarter but ultimately fell 14 points short, after a string of missed shots for goal. The Cats, though, thoroughly deserved their win. At times, they seemed back to their best and are well placed to make their third consecutive Grand Final. The Bulldogs will have to rediscover their running game if they are to get their premiership campaign back on track.

Cats maintain their focus  Geelong had just booked its third consecutive preliminary final berth but the mood in its changerooms was one of quiet satisfaction rather than jubilation after the qualifying final win over the Western Bulldogs. As experienced finals campaigners, the Cats knew how far they were from achieving their goal of lifting their second premiership cup in the past three years, and Andrew Mackie made it clear they were not letting external distractions shift their focus. Asked whether the disappointment of losing last year’s Grand Final to Hawthorn had been a motivating force in the lead-up to last Saturday’s game, Mackie was

emphatic it had not been and talked up the Bulldogs as “the form team of the competition”. He was then asked whether Rodney Eade’s jubilant reaction after the Bulldogs clinched third spot and a preliminary final showdown against the Cats – their 24-point win against Collingwood in round 22 meant they avoided ladder-leader St Kilda – had been mentioned in the Cats’ preparation for the game. Again, he insisted it had not. “We were pretty quiet (in the lead-up to the game). We knew what we had to do and were lucky enough to get away with it,” Mackie said. “The focus wasn’t to make a statement, the focus was to go about it the way we knew we

should and the way that was going to get us a win.” Mackie acknowledged Geelong’s form was impressive in patches, especially in the first quarter, but said there were still areas to work on. He said Brad Ottens’ return in recent weeks had been a boost to the premiership chances – “he’s obviously crucial for us in the middle of the ground (and) has a presence … which really helps the midfielders” – as had Paul Chapman’s ability to return from a hamstring injury unscathed. Mackie said the Cats’ back six had been more settled in recent weeks with Matthew Scarlett and skipper Tom Harley back from injury. Mackie said having a break this weekend would be beneficial for injured pair Steve Johnson and Max Rooke, but stressed the Cats could not afford to let their guard down ahead of their preliminary final. “You’ve got to keep your head right, you’ve got to stay focused as to what lies ahead and that’s what we’ll be doing,” Mackie said. NICK BOWEN

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finalsreviews W H AT T H E C O AC H E S S A I D TOUGH TIMES: Lindsay

Gilbee has played some inspirational football for the Bulldogs.

Mark Thompson GEELONG We wanted to play some good footy. We weren’t sure if we’d win because the Bulldogs are a great side and skilful and fast. There were elements of us playing really good footy and there were elements that were horrible too. We are one of four or five teams that still have to work on trying to eradicate that bad part of the play and maintain the good part. If we keep throwing up too much bad stuff, then we’ll get rolled and that’s not the plan. This is another test for us and we’re going to do it a little bit differently and see if we can’t get it right and have a fantastic preliminary final.

Gilbee shows will to push through  Lindsay Gilbee has played with a heavy heart throughout most of the 2009 season but he’s persevered knowing a person dear to him is willing him on. Since his father Lawrie passed away in July, Gilbee has steeled himself for a successful finals campaign as the Western Bulldogs chase their first premiership since 1954. After farewelling his father, who lost his short battle with leukemia on July 31, Gilbee was a pivotal player in the Bulldogs’ pre-finals campaign. And Lawrie Gilbee would have been proud of his son’s efforts at the MCG last Saturday as the Bulldogs tried to fight their way back into the qualifying final against

Geelong. Gilbee senior was a more than accomplished player for Coldstream in Melbourne’s outer east, playing 125 games in the Eastern Football League and is a life member of the club. The club’s website proudly records the fact that Lawrie and his three sons – Gavin, Shaun and Lindsay – played 405 games in total for Coldstream. Lawrie was the kind of local footballer you hear so much about – always helping out and giving back to the community. “Played with Lawrie at Coldstream and he was one of the nicest blokes and a great player,” former teammate Greg Winstanley wrote on the EFL’s website. Gilbee played in the Bulldogs’ 31-point win over Fremantle the day after his father died in

what was an afternoon of mixed emotions for the club. Skipper Brad Johnson celebrated breaking the club’s games record but the Bulldog fraternity was thinking of its All-Australian defender. “I think it showed a lot of courage,” coach Rodney Eade said. “I think that’s what his dad wanted, but the support network through the club was very strong for Lindsay.” Last Saturday, Gilbee did everything he could to get the Bullodgs back into the contest after the Cats had slipped to a 28-point lead at quarter-time. Gilbee and fellow defender Brian Lake took the risks required to reel the lead in, often running off their opponent and driving the ball into the Bulldogs’ forward 50. It paid off for most of the second term, even though the Dogs could not apply enough scoreboard pressure, and again early in the third quarter when Jason Akermanis presented on a couple of leads. Eventually they came up short but Gilbee was the only Bulldog to record 30 or more disposals (35) and, importantly, he moved the ball inside 50 on four occasions.

Rodney Eade BULLDOGS In the end, we certainly did have our chances. Apart from the start, they (the Cats) just used the ball a bit better than we did. Their skills were pretty good and we just turned the ball over a little bit too much at times and some shots at goal that we should have been able to take might have made it a bit more interesting. We certainly had some momentum, but full credit to them, they deserved to win. (Losing) makes it more difficult because you’ve got to play another game and you don’t get the week’s break, so obviously Geelong is in the box seat. But having said that, there is a bit of character among the group and we’ve shown over the last three weeks what they can deliver.

MICHAEL LOVETT

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TOWER OF STRENGTH:

Ruckman Brad Ottens has made a timely return for Geelong over the past two weeks and was able to rise above Bulldog opponent Ben Hudson last week.

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finalsreviews

1ST ELIMINATION FINAL Adelaide 26.10 (166) d. Essendon 10.10 (70)

NO CRACKS FOR CROWS: Brad Symes

and his fellow Crow defenders didn’t have a lot of work last week but he managed to get this kick clear of Essendon’s Mark McVeigh.

Crows find the perfect balance Fans were served up another goal-feast in the last AFL match in Adelaide for the season as the Crows crushed the Bombers. SH A NE McNA L LY

I

f the pressure was on Adelaide to improve its indifferent recent finals record and deliver on the big stage, the players certainly didn’t show it. From the warm-up on, the Crows looked sharp and focused. They withstood the early surge of energy from a young and enthusiastic Essendon team, before strangling the undermanned Bombers in the second quarter and putting on a show for more than an hour to the roars of a packed stadium. It was all the bulk of the 50,000-plus supporters could have asked, and those who ignored the wet-weather predictions, lined up all week for tickets and gathered around after-work barbecues to avoid the West Lakes Boulevard gridlock were well rewarded. With blustery conditions whipping up thousands of flags carrying the Crows logo amid a sea of red, blue and yellow, it was party time in Adelaide. The thumping 96-point win sent a clear message to the teams still in the race – this Crows team is, quite simply, very good. Adelaide not only produced the perfect balance of attack and defence from quarter-time, it

also displayed a brilliant blend of experience and youth, perfectly captured in the performances of veteran superstar Andrew McLeod and emerging midfield ace Bernie Vince. The pair dominated and controlled the flow of the game with their run and poise – McLeod with a game-best 30 possessions running unchecked and Vince by picking up possessions at will in the midfield and farming the ball out to the other runners.

The Crows had winners all over the ground, and their forward line excelled under finals pressure The Bombers tried to ruffle his feathers with some physical stuff, but in an on-ground television interview just moments after the siren, Vince indicated how much he had enjoyed the attention. The Crows had winners all over the ground, and their much-discussed forward line excelled under finals pressure. Brett Burton provided a settling presence when he took a strong

early grab, walked back slowly and backed himself in from 50. He finished with three goals. Kurt Tippett overcame a slow start to grab everything that came his way for four goals; sharp-shooter Jason Porplyzia thrived to kick five, and superboot Chris Knight chipped in with three of the best. Even Patrick Dangerfield showed he had been working on his sometimes-wayward goalkicking to provide two more. Then there was Trent Hentschel, who kicked only one but worked both ends of the ground in the absence of the injured Nathan Bock. After serious recent knee injuries, Hentschel has shown remarkable courage in returning and his story remains one of the best of the year. Importantly, it was a complete team effort. Veteran Tyson Edwards and captain Simon Goodwin were solid and reliable and the rest did what was asked of them. Adelaide’s eight-goal second quarter saw it lead at the main change by 39 points, ensuring the game was all but over. Essendon had few answers after quarter-time. Suspended CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE

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finalsreviews captain Matthew Lloyd might have helped in the goalsquare, and Patrick Ryder certainly would have made things tougher for the opposition rucks. The best efforts of inexperienced Cale Hooker and undersized Nathan Lovett-Murray were never going to stop supply to the relentless wave of Crows runners. Brent Stanton showed a liking for the big event with a tireless turn in the midfield but most of the young Bombers struggled. It was left to veteran performers Dustin Fletcher and Adam McPhee (who kicked four goals) to carry much of the load on a night that didn’t do justice to a slick young group with a seemingly bright future.

Brent Stanton showed a liking for the big event in the midfield but most of the young Bombers struggled Every analysis of the match would indicate Adelaide coach Neil Craig’s persistence in trying to create an all-ground style has finally paid off, and he now has a team capable of playing a style that features balanced emphasis on stifling defence and fast and fluent attack. A return to ‘sensible’ figures of 373 possessions after a club record 493 two weeks earlier (against West Coast) reflected a team that could adapt to the situation, and the one-time handball-happy Crows actually used the ball more by foot this time. Perhaps the kicking for goal provided a simpler statistic to confirm the remodelled Crows’ measure of control and composure. For long periods in recent times, Adelaide struggled with goalkicking but hardly missed a chance against the Dons, booting 14.2 from mid-way through the first quarter to the middle of the third term, before finishing off with 8.1 in the last quarter. It was the last night of AFL action in Adelaide this year, and supporters of the local team were treated to a dominant performance. They saw the potential of the emerging Crows at full flight, yelled themselves hoarse and even did the Mexican wave before pouring out of Fortress AAMI certain their team had the game and the players to go deep into September.

CLUSTER OF CROWS: Richard Douglas (No. 26) celebrates after kicking one of Adelaide’s 26 goals against the Bombers last week.

Tipping a bright future  Adelaide forward Kurt Tippett is quick to deflect the credit poured on him and his goalkicking teammates, suggesting the successive 27 and 26-goal winning scores of the past two weeks are largely a result of the pressure applied by the midfielders and defenders. Tippett believes the slick ball movement the Crows displayed against Essendon in the first elimination final made it a lot easier to share the goals. He says Adelaide’s irresistible running style is still being developed and, in a sobering thought, claims the best is yet to come. “The style is not something we implemented mid-season. It was always something we were going to take time to master but we’re getting there,” Tippett says.

“We’ll keep trying to get better, there’s no point resting on your laurels. We’re really pushing each other hard on the training track and the enthusiasm is contagious. We’re creating good chemistry up forward. The work we do at training with our forward coach David Noble is really paying off and we’re really gelling as a forward unit. I think you can see that now, with an even contribution from everyone. “We pride ourselves on being able to develop everybody. There are guys playing great footy in the SANFL we haven’t seen yet and they’re exciting prospects. We can definitely improve on what we’ve done so far. There’s a fair range there for growth – we’re a work in progress.”

Fresh from kicking four goals and helping out in the ruck in the emphatic win over the Bombers, Tippett gave a hint that every Adelaide supporter’s fears of him moving clubs may be unfounded. For months, sports radio and the newspapers have been debating whether the 22-year-old from Southport might be coaxed back to the Gold Coast to join the new AFL club, or anywhere else for that matter, when his contract expires. “There’s a good core of young players coming through and it would be great if we could all stick together,” he says. The 201cm key forward grew up playing basketball and continues to “learn” the game. “I’ve got a fair bit of improvement left in me,” he says. “I’ve only been playing the game a few years and I feel like I’m still learning each week. Guys like Trent Hentschel, Brett Burton and Jason Porplyzia are definitely smart footballers and I can learn a lot from them.” SHANE McNALLY

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AGAINST THE ODDS: It was a case of the long and the short of it as an under-sized Nathan Lovett-Murray went into battle in the ruck against Crow James Sellar.

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finalsreviews W H AT T H E C O AC H E S S A I D RISING STAR: Michael

Hurley is a key position prospect the Bombers can build their future around.

Neil Craig ADELAIDE It was a great step forward for us as a football club to be able to win a final and win it in that manner. The players need to feel good about themselves and be congratulated, but she rolls on again next week. There’ll be some hype because of the winning margin, but I would want our supporters to enjoy the way the guys actually went about their football. The challenge now for us will be to be able to do that again next week. We’ve given ourselves an opportunity and it’s up to us. We beat Collingwood in the first game, but we certainly haven’t beaten the other three (top-four clubs) so that lies ahead of us.

Dons must resolve critical issues  Although it was not the finish they were looking for, the Bombers can be pleased with the progress made this year in reaching the finals for the first time since 2004. Matthew Knights’ group provided some of the most scintillating football seen this season, and appears set to climb further next season. But Essendon must be careful its 96-point thrashing at the hands of Adelaide isn’t entirely brushed away as a debacle that will soon be put behind it, for it did expose questions about 2010 and how the Bombers will manage the next phase of their development. Much centres around the future of captain Matthew Lloyd. He showed enough in his

18 games this season to suggest he has a role to play, kicking 35 goals and again leading the club’s goalkicking. Knights has publicly said he will be putting more time into developing key forward prospects Jay Neagle and Scott Gumbleton, and Michael Hurley, who can play at both ends. Despite Neagle having shown glimpses, he has yet to prove he can hold down the important full-forward role. So the Lloyd decision is a big one. If he does play on, Lloyd might be asked to consider relinquishing the captaincy. At 24, Jobe Watson appears ready for such a role. He is strong, courageous and young enough to grow into the position, and would benefit from Lloyd

staying on, as James Hird did for Lloyd in 2006-07. The Bombers went into the elimination final against Adelaide without a recognised ruckman. Patrick Ryder can continue in that role, with David Hille and Jason Laycock both coming back from serious injuries. Ryder was a revelation as a ruckman after being asked to play the role for most of the Anzac Day match against Collingwood. To take him out of the position would rob the team of the zest he added, and how Knights handles the returns of Hille and Laycock will be instructive. Knights added a more defensive edge to his team’s attacking style this year, but still has too many light bodies to work with and might have to look at bringing in another strong-bodied ball-winner to help Watson at the stoppages. Overall, the Bombers of 2009 were exciting and gave their supporters value for money. But there are several issues that need to be resolved in order for the club to make the progress most are predicting. CALLUM TWOMEY

Matthew Knights ESSENDON We’ve got a long way to go but I think we knew that even before tonight that we’ve got to make up some ground between us and the good sides. We’ve had a reasonably good month, but we just had an awful night tonight and paid the price heavily on the scoreboard. But they (the Crows) just taught us a valuable lesson in hitting the body and hitting targets. At times we were streaming through the corridor and we looked like we had openings, and then we’d tip the ball over and Adelaide were out the other side. We’re building a reasonable foundation as a club and we’ve unearthed some good youngsters this year.

94 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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finalsreviews

2ND ELIMINATION FINAL Brisbane 16.15 (111) d. Carlton 15.14 (104)

Lions time their run to perfection NAB AFL Rising Star Daniel Rich capped a memorable week with his last-quarter heroics inspiring Brisbane’s great escape against Carlton. HOWA R D KOT TON

I

n any thriller, there is always a sting in the tale. If a team is five goals down in a must-win final, something special is needed to keep the season alive. Something special is what the Lions produced in the second elimination final at the Gabba last Saturday night, mounting a miraculous comeback to sink the brave Blues. Possessions in this modern game are often meaningless, or to paraphrase the words of Humphrey Bogart in the timeless classic movie Casablanca, they “don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world”. Daniel Rich had only 12 possessions for the match, but it could be argued three of his disposals in the dying moments amounted to the most crucial of the 668 accumulated between the two teams. Rich had enjoyed a big week in the lead-up to his first final, recognised for his superb debut season as the NAB AFL Rising Star. After such a build-up, there were questions about how the talented youngster would handle the heat. The answer was evident early in the match as the Lion’s raking left foot hit the chest of his captain Jonathan Brown. But it was his influence when the game was up for grabs in the final term that proved most profound. He found Brown again with a

clever kick and the courageous skipper, bandaged and bruised with a suspected fractured eye socket after a heavy collision with Blue Heath Scotland in the second quarter, goaled to reduce the margin to 10 points. A short time later, Rich confirmed why Brisbane had shown faith in the youngster, picked at No.7 in last year’s NAB AFL Draft, with a brilliant goal from the 50m arc to reduce the margin to four points. As the Lions surged forward again, the strongly built teenager won a crucial clearance. His kick eventually landed with Bradshaw, who snapped his fifth goal to the unbridled joy of the Lions’ faithful in the stands, including a joyous Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Interestingly, the Blues had the chance to select Rich, but chose livewire forward Chris Yarran with pick six. Carlton insiders view Yarran as a solid long-term prospect, so any judgment at this stage would be harsh. The Blues had several top draft picks led by Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs playing their first final, but another No.1 pick, Matthew Kreuzer, 20, caught the eye. Kreuzer, also playing in his first final, battled gamely all night against Lions ruckman Mitch Clark and impressed with his follow-up efforts around the stoppages. His statistics of 19 disposals, 18 hit-outs, four marks, three tackles and three clearances do not do justice to his tireless efforts. He kick-started the Blues with a brilliant first-quarter goal and was still going strong at the end. Kreuzer had a chance to regain the initiative for Carlton CON T IN U ED NE X T PAGE

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Something special is what the Lions produced ... mounting a miraculous comeback to sink the brave Blues

WE DID IT: Young Lions Sam Sheldon (left) and James Hawksley are ecstatic after Brisbane turned around a 30-point deďŹ cit to sink Carlton at the Gabba. AFL RECORD visit aďŹ&#x201A;record.com.au 97

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finalsreviews late in the game when he pulled off a superb interception and was running clear towards goal. Unfortunately for him and the Blues, the shot went wide. The course of this match had eerie similarities to the previous three encounters between the two sides, all won by the Blues – including two at the Gabba. In round 21 last year in Brisbane, it was a game of changing momentum, with Carlton holding sway, then the Lions and finally the Blues again with a withering burst of six goals to nil in the last quarter that sealed the win. In round two this year at Docklands, Carlton blew out to a 41-point lead at half-time before Brisbane, inspired by Bradshaw, Simon Black and Luke Power, pegged the home team’s advantage back to 12 points early in the last quarter before the desperate Blues hung on for a 19-point victory.

GABBA HERO: Daniel Bradshaw is congratulated by teammates James Polkinghorne (left) and Daniel Rich after kicking one of his five goals.

There would be no Judd heroics this time as Carlton failed to contain the Lions’ surge Then, in the Gabba encounter in round 11, Carlton held a five-goal lead at three quarter-time before a desperate Lions fightback fell six points short, with Blues skipper Chris Judd contributing a vital goal at the finish. There would be no Judd heroics this time as Carlton failed to contain the Lions’ surge. The skipper had run himself into the ground and given everything until he could give no more. As he desperately tried to create a scoring opportunity in those frenetic moments at the end of the game, he was collared in a ferocious tackle by young Lion Matt Austin. In the Carlton rooms after the game, coach Brett Ratten was naturally forlorn as he pondered where it had gone wrong for the Blues. As the players filed out to take the bus back to the team hotel, most had their heads bowed as if unable to fully comprehend the events of just an hour before. After their first finals performance for eight years, the Blues had been stung. No doubt the pain will linger long into the pre-season and into the new year. For the Lions, it a great escape.

As always, experience counts  Experience under the heat of finals pressure cannot be underestimated. Those hardened by past September battles invariably rise to the challenge in a tough situation. Before last Saturday’s contest, Brisbane Lions skipper Jonathan Brown and teammates Simon Black, Luke Power and Daniel Bradshaw had played 52 finals between them. Brown, Black and Power played in the Lions’ ‘three-peat’ premiership teams of 2001-03 and Bradshaw won premiership medals in 2001 and ’03. In stark contrast, only five Blues had played in a final, with skipper and former West

Coast Eagle Chris Judd the most experienced. So it was hardly surprising that, as the Lions faced an early exit, it was the veteran quartet that rose. Black and Bradshaw entered the game under injury clouds. Bradshaw had missed the Lions’ narrow win over the Swans in round 22 with a quad complaint, while Black appeared to injure his hamstring in the dying minutes of the encounter at the SCG. But both had a huge influence on the final result. Despite spending a quarter of the game on the bench, Black was the Lions’ leading possession-winner with 29, with seven of those in the final stanza.

Clearly he wasn’t running at 100 per cent efficiency, but his coolness and ability to win the hard ball was invaluable. Bradshaw finished with five goals, including the last two to seal a semi-final berth against the Bulldogs. Brown was battered and bruised after a big collision in the second quarter, but stood tall when his team needed him most. Like Bradshaw, he added two goals in the last-quarter surge, finishing the night with 4.3, 15 possessions and 10 marks. Power found plenty of the ball and used it to great effect, as well as making a game-high nine tackles. The return of key defender Daniel Merrett was significant. Merrett, who missed the SCG game with a hamstring injury, had the tough job of minding Coleman medallist Brendan Fevola. He conceded three goals to the Blues’ spearhead, but still played his part with seven rebound 50s among his 11 possessions. HOWARD KOTTON

98 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

ARF2 p096-100 Review Bris/Carl.indd 98

9/9/09 6:14:58 PM


John’s WISH Since Make-A-Wish® Australia granted its first Wish in 1985 the organisation has brought hope and joy to over 5,600 children suffering life-threatening medical conditions and their families. John is a massive Western Bulldogs’ fan, he even has his bedroom themed in red, white and blue so to meet his favourite player was a dream come true. ‘Aker’ gave him a spin around the block in his red Mustang before John watch the Bulldogs go through one of their training sessions. John was also able to go to watch a game at the Docklands Stadium where the Western Bulldogs were able to put another win on the board. When asked how much he enjoyed his time at Whitten Oval, John gave ‘two thumbs up’; he had had a great time .

“ The work that Make-A-Wish Australia does is fantastic; bringing hope and joy into the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions and their families.“ - Jason Akermanis, Western Bulldogs Player Make-A-Wish will do almost anything to make dreams come true, bringing a touch of magic into the lives of children like John and their families. To find out how to apply for a wish, make a donation or volunteer call 1800 032 260 or visit our website www.makeawish.org.au.

To find out how to apply for a Wish, make a donation or volunteer call 1800 032 260 or visit our website www.makeawish.org.au.

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finalsreviews ws W H AT T H E C O AC H E S S A I D RAISING THE BAR: Midfielder Marcc

Murphy enjoyed his best season and is still improving.

Michael Voss BRISBANE We enjoyed it post-game. I think you’ve got to enjoy that sort of win. It was the club’s first finals win in five years. Thirty points down in the last quarter, that’s an incredible feat to be able to come back from that situation and get over the line. From a club sense it’s certainly up there with one of our best wins we’ve ever had. I thought that they guys really held their nerve in the way that they set up under pressure situations. At three quarter-time, we asked for that extra effort and they gave it. They certainly don’t give up and that’s been a big thing for us. They just never give up and they’ve just gone the whole way and got the result. It’s been our season hasn’t it? We’re the comeback kings.

With some help, Blues can prosper  In the aftermath of the disappointing end to the season, Carlton can look ahead with plenty of promise and hope. Let’s start with some perspective – in the eight years since the Blues last participated in a finals series before this season, they ‘won’ three wooden spoons (2002 and ’05-’06) and finished 15th on two occasions. In that same period, the Brisbane Lions added to their 2001 triumph with two more premierships and another Grand Final appearance against Port Adelaide in 2004. The Lions had not been in the finals since that defeat to the Power, but finished 10th in the past two seasons and their line-up last Saturday night featured several key members 100 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

ARF2 p096-100 Review Bris/Carl.indd 100

who enjoyed so much success earlier this decade. Of the Blues’ 22 who took the field at the Gabba, only five – skipper Chris Judd, vice-captain Nick Stevens, Heath Scotland, Brendan Fevola and Ryan Houlihan – had played in a final. They were conceding a lot of experience, as well as home-ground advantage to the Lions. In the final analysis, that was crucial. As coach Brett Ratten noted in the rooms after the game, the Blues were unable to stop Brisbane’s last-quarter surge. Carlton has taken considerable strides under Ratten in the past two seasons. Last year, the Blues finished 11th with a 10-12 record and, this season, they won three more games and finished in

the top eight. The bar has been raised again and there is scope for improvement in this group. Midfielders Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs had their best seasons, as did defenders Bret Thornton, Paul Bower and Jordan Russell. There are areas the Blues need to address if they are to move into the top four alongside top-two teams Geelong and St Kilda. Instructively, Carlton defeated the Cats in round 19 at the MCG for the first time since 2004 and took the Saints to nine points in a thrilling encounter in round 12 at Docklands. Last Saturday night, the Blues missed the injured Richard Hadley, a Lions premiership player in 2003 whose ability in close and at stoppages was sadly lacking, particularly at the end. Carlton’s defence leaked towards the end of the season, but the return of injured duo Jarrad Waite and Michael Jamison should help shore it up. Brendan Fevola had another superb season with great support from Eddie Betts, but the Blues need another tall target to take the heat off Fevola.

Brett Ratten CARTLON The experience to play and to have the emotion of a final I think is really important for our group. (There’s also) the experience of losing and how bitter it feels. There are a lot of positives when you think of a ruck combination of (Matthew) Kreuzer and (Shaun) Hampson, (Marc) Murphy and (Chris) Judd are still babies and we expect them to be the cream of the competition in a lot of areas. They (the Lions) just kept surging forward, hitting forward, knocking forward and just scrambling the ball and they just won a lot of one-on-ones towards the back end. We squandered a little bit of the footy going inside 50 when we couldn’t hit blokes.

HOWARD KOTTON

AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 100

9/9/09 6:15:12 PM


One day and night. One unforgettable September experience. Your invitation to Australia’s premier AFL experience. The fever-pitched excitement. The roar of the crowd. The toughest contest. The moment in history. This is your chance to be a part of it. Centre Square has redefined corporate hospitality at Melbourne’s premier sporting event – the 2009 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Your Centre Square experience includes: • A Prime reserved seat for the 2009 Toyota AFL Grand Final • Pre-game entertainment from a panel of leading football media analysts and past and present champions of the game • Post-game party including a performance from one of Australia’s premier musical artists • Entry into the exclusive Centre Square environment at Birrarung Marr from 10:30am • Pre-game dining • Premium beverage package supplied by Foster’s Australia Total inclusive cost $1,995. Places are strictly limited. Secure your chance to experience life inside Centre Square in 2009.

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For more information visit centresquare.com.au

1/9/09 10:59:35 AM

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nationalscoreboard AFL FINALS – WEEK 1 FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL Adelaide 4.3 12.4 18.9 26.10 (166) Essendon 3.3 5.7 8.8 10.10 (70) BEST: Adelaide – McLeod, Vince, Porplyzia, Goodwin, Otten, Edwards. Essendon – Stanton, Fletcher, Lovett-Murray, McVeigh, Welsh, Hocking. GOALS: Adelaide – Porplyzia 5, Tippett 4, Knights 3, Burton 3, Dangerfield 2, Douglas 2, Vince, Edwards, Maric, Thompson, Hentschel, Mackay, Sellar. Essendon – McPhee 4, Skipworth 2, Monfries, Quinn, Stanton, Lovett. Umpires: S. McBurney, M. Stevic, S. Ryan. Crowd: 50,393 at AAMI Stadium.

STEADY SAINT:

Defender Sam Fisher was outstanding with 42 possessions in St Kilda’s convincing win over Collingwood.

SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL Geelong Cats 6.5 7.5 13.9 14.12 (96) Western Bulldogs 2.1 4.3 8.4 12.10 (82) BEST: Geelong Cats – Scarlett, Enright, Ablett, Ling, Milburn, Corey. Western Bulldogs – Lake, Gilbee, Akermanis, Boyd, Cooney, Ward. GOALS: Geelong Cats – Bartel 3, Mooney 2, Stokes 2, Chapman 2, Mackie, Ottens, Enright, Ling, Taylor. Western Bulldogs – Akermanis 3, Johnson 2, Higgins 2, Hudson, Hill, Gilbee, Griffen, Welsh. Umpires: H. Kennedy, M. Vozzo, S. Meredith. Crowd: 74,007 at the MCG. SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL Brisbane Lions 4.4 8.7 10.10 16.15 (111) Carlton 5.4 8.6 14.10 15.14 (104) BEST: Brisbane Lions – Black, Bradshaw, Brown, McGrath, Brennan, Power. Carlton – Judd, Houlihan, Kreuzer, Carrazzo, Murphy, Simpson. GOALS: Brisbane Lions – Bradshaw 5, Brown 4, Sherman 2, Johnstone 2, Rich, Redden, Hooper. Carlton – Fevola 3, Cloke 2, Stevens 2, Carrazzo, Judd, Betts, Garlett, Russell, Kreuzer, Murphy, Houlihan. Umpires: S. Wenn, S. Jeffery, S. McLaren. Crowd: 32,702 at the Gabba. FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL St Kilda 1.2 6.4 9.7 12.8 (80) Collingwood 2.4 4.6 6.8 7.10 (52) BEST: St Kilda – Riewoldt, Fisher, Hayes, Gilbert, McQualter, Dal Santo, Jones, Goddard. Collingwood – Shaw, Swan, Toovey, O’Brien, Maxwell, Johnson. GOALS: St Kilda – Riewoldt 5, McQualter 2, Koschitzke 2, Schneider, Goddard, Milne. Collingwood – Rocca 2, Thomas 2, Anthony, Davis, Medhurst. Umpires: R. Chamberlain, B. Rosebury, S. McInerney. Crowd: 84,213 at the MCG.

Official 2009 AFL Premiership Season Ladder (after round 22) P

W

L

D

Gls

For Beh

Pts

Gls

Against Beh Pts

%

Mtch pts

Home W L

Away W L

Strks Scores Av margin W < L < Pls Rnd 22 1st Yr Qtrs 4th W/l High Low W L 7 pts 7 pts used 2008 Players Won Qtrs W

1

ST KILDA

22

20

2

0

322

265

2197

206

175

1411

155.71%

80

10

1

10

1

1W

161

59

39

3

2

2

30

4

1

60

2

GEELONG CATS

22

18

4

0

337

290

2312

269

201

1815

127.38%

72

11

0

7

4

1W

134

62

33

24

4

1

33

1

4

52

14 11

3

W BULLDOGS

22

15

7

0

351

272

2378

284

236

1940

122.58%

60

7

4

8

3

3W

157

61

39

22

0

3

31

3

4

47

14

4

COLLINGWOOD

22

15

7

0

313

296

2174

255

248

1778

122.27%

60

6

5

9

2

1L

169

40

42

34

1

2

37

8

4

51

12

5

ADELAIDE

22

14

8

0

307

262

2104

262

217

1789

117.61%

56

7

4

7

4

3W

176

48

40

31

1

1

34

5

6

49

14

6

BRISBANE LIONS

22

13

8

1

298

229

2017

273

252

1890

106.72%

54

8

3

5

5

2W

119

33

29

32

0

1

36

10

6

51

12

7

CARLTON

22

13

9

0

333

272

2270

300

255

2055

110.46%

52

6

5

7

4

1L

153

40

38

31

1

2

37

11

5

50

15

8

ESSENDON

22

10

11

1

303

262

2080

310

267

2127

97.79%

42

6

4

4

7

1W

136

57

30

31

3

1

36

12

3

42

11

9

Hawthorn

22

9

13

0

285

252

1962

306

284

2120

92.55%

36

5

6

4

7

1L

135

45

25

29

1

1

38

2

7

42

7

10

Port Adelaide

22

9

13

0

290

250

1990

332

252

2244

88.68%

36

8

3

1

10

4L

147

36

31

41

1

2

35

13

4

39

10

11

West Coast Eagles

22

8

14

0

272

261

1893

297

247

2029

93.30%

32

7

4

1

10

1W

125

48

32

28

1

2

38

15

5

39

8

12

Sydney Swans

22

8

14

0

278

220

1888

294

263

2027

93.14%

32

6

5

2

9

3L

143

56

27

25

1

2

33

6

4

41

11

13

North Melbourne

22

7

14

1

244

216

1680

293

257

2015

83.37%

30

4

7

3

7

2W

125

24

19

33

3

0

37

7

7

30

6

14

Fremantle

22

6

16

0

254

223

1747

333

261

2259

77.34%

24

4

7

2

9

1L

141

13

23

40

1

1

40

14

11

34

4

15

Richmond

22

5

16

1

255

244

1774

348

300

2388

74.29%

22

1

9

4

7

4L

115

36

12

42

3

1

40

9

7

28

8

16

Melbourne

22

4

18

0

252

194

1706

332

293

2285

74.66%

16

3

8

1

10

2L

127

34

25

37

0

1

40

16

9

33

11

102 AFL RECORD visit afl .com.au

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VFL – FINALS

SANFL – ROUND 23

WA F L – F I N A L S FIRST SEMI-FINAL Swan Districts 7.5 8.8 11.11 16.14 (110) West Perth 1.0 4.7 8.9 10.13 (73) BEST: Swan Districts – Hansen, Roberts, Bowers, Jetta, Pratt, Hunter, Ames. West Perth – Guadagnin, Saylor, van Berlo, Tedesco. GOALS: Swan Districts – Hansen 6, Jetta 3, Notte 2, Hunter 2, Colreavy, Fleming, Walters. West Perth – Campbell 2, Crisp 2, Smoker 2, Tsalikis, Saylor, Crossland, Guadagnin. SECOND SEMI-FINAL South Fremantle 1.5 9.11 14.12 19.21 (135) 1.2 5.4 8.4 10.5 (65) Subiaco BEST: South Fremantle – Adams, Bossong, Hunt, Smithers, White, Miller. Subiaco – White, Broadhurst, Bristow, Horsley. GOALS: South Fremantle – Mugambwa 3, Adams 2, Smithers 2, Graham 2, Wilson 2, Dell’Olio 2, White, Bairstow, Delmenico, Head, Miller, Siegert. Subiaco – Dennis-Lane 3, Smith 2, Broadhurst 2, Chick, Hildebrandt, Stenglein.

AFL QUEENSLAND – FINALS FIRST SEMI-FINAL Mt Gravatt 11.3 15.8 20.10 25.12 (162) Redland 0.1 5.3 11.5 13.11 (89) BEST: Mt Gravatt – Hamill, Labi, Gilliland, Tarrant, Smouha, White. Redland – Carse, Myers, Pantic, Paxman, Salter, Eagle. GOALS: Mt Gravatt – Labi 5, Morrison 4, White 3, Dosser 2, Lake 2, Smouha 2, Gilliland 2, Furfaro 2, Pratt, Cleary, Hamill. Redland – Eagle 4, Carey 3, White 2, J. Pantic, R. Pantic, Carse, Congoo. SECOND SEMI-FINAL Morningside 7.4 12.8 17.11 20.14 (134) Southport 2.4 3.6 5.9 8.14 (62) BEST: Morningside – Lucy, Upton, Kimball, Holman, Shelton, Tomlinson. Southport – Meli, Kahlefeldt, O’Brien, Burge, McCauley, Niklaus. GOALS: Morningside – Brown 3, Rootsey 3, Lucy 3, Abey 2, Lillico 2, Mugavin 2, Kimball 2, Upton, Logan, Holman. Southport – Meli 4, Screech, Wise, Charleston, Kahlefeldt.

A F L TA S M A N I A – F I N A L S FIRST SEMI-FINAL Glenorchy 8.2 15.7 21.11 25.15 (165) Burnie 3.3 5.3 8.7 14.10 (94) BEST: Glenorchy – Bowden, Parker, Crouch, Matthews, O’Garey, Piuselli. Burnie – Shackleton, Davis, Barrett, Plapp, Smith, Wooldridge. GOALS: Glenorchy – Bowden 5, Hunt 5, Parker 4, Piuselli 3, Bowring 2, Crouch 2, O’Garey, Cox, French, Matthews. Burnie – Plapp 3, Smith 3, Russell 2, Gardam, Walters, Marriot, Archer, Barrett, Shackleton. SECOND SEMI-FINAL Clarence 4.4 7.6 12.11 15.15 (105) Devonport 0.2 2.4 5.6 7.10 (52) BEST: Clarence – Setchell, J. Green, Riley, Thurley, French, Baker. Devonport – Allen, Milverton, Charlesworth, Widdowson, McDonald, Ponsonby. GOALS: Clarence – Dutton 2, J. Green 2, Geappen 2, Drury 2, A.Green, Riley, Webberley, Whitelaw, O’Brien, Baker, Thurley. Devonport – Colbeck, Heazlewood, Mott, McDonald, Crowden, Milverton, Williams.

Sturt 5.2 10.7 17.8 20.11 (131) Port 2.1 3.5 7.8 10.13 (73) BEST: Sturt – Crane, Gum, Coad, Sheedy, Evans, McGlone, Cubillo, Trengove. Port – Dolling, Shannon, Elstone, Perry, Summerton. GOALS: Sturt – Chambers 3, Johncock 3, Crane 3, Gum 2, Cubillo 2, Trengove 2, Vassal 2, Herring, Jaensch, Coad. Port – Perry 3, Milera 2, Harder 2, Dolling, Perkins, AhChee. Norwood 2.5 5.9 10.13 12.15 (87) Central 0.1 4.4 8.9 11.15 (81) BEST: Norwood – Walker, McGuinness, Massie, Weatherald, Gallagher, Jackman, Donohue. Central – Thomas, O’Sullivan, Cochrane, Jenner. GOALS: Norwood – Walker 5, Donohue 3, Rowe 2, Gallagher, Weatherald. Central – Callinan 2, Jenner, Nason, Goodrem, Sansbury, Giles, O’Sullivan, Spurr, C. Gowans, Schell. North 7.3 11.6 20.7 24.10 (154) Panthers 3.1 10.1 12.1 15.4 (94) BEST: North – Allan, Archard, Sloane, Davis, Alleway, Ryswyk, Craig. Panthers – Torney, Thewlis, Handby, Williams. GOALS: North – Alleway 4, Younie 3, Allan 3, Ackland 2, Delvins 2, Thring 2, Ryswyk 2, Archard, Pfeiffer, Stewart, Sloane, Armstrong, O’Brien. Panthers – Thewlis 3, Cockshell 2, Warren, Lyons, Torney, Sandery, Farmer, Ryan, Handby, Cook, Caudle, Minns. Glenelg 2.5 6.9 11.11 16.14 (110) West 2.2 4.5 7.5 7.9 (51) BEST: Glenelg – Panozzo, Fisher, Cranston, Allen, Kane, Backwell, Ruwoldt. West – Bailey, Ferguson, Ezard, Caire, Krakouer, Bricknell. GOALS: Glenelg – Ruwoldt 3, Backwell 2, Kirkby 2, Murphy 2, Willoughby 2, Hall, Adlington, Liebelt, Kane, Cranston. West – Martin 4, G. Rowe, Caruso, Anderson.

AFL SYDNEY – FINALS

FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL Box Hill Hawks 0.6 5.11 12.14 17.19 (121) 4.3 6.4 7.9 13.9 (87) Geelong BEST: Box Hill Hawks – Walsh, Iles, Curnow, Suckling, Kiel, Yze. Geelong – Tutungi, Gamble, Podsiadly, Firman, Laidler, T. Hunt. GOALS: Box Hill Hawks – Yze 3, Suckling 3, Iles 2, Breust 2, Morton 2, Pedersen, Lisle, Williams, George, Fagan. Geelong – Podsiadly 4, Gamble 2, Allwright 2, Lonergan 2, Raidme, A. Varcoe, T. Hunt. SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL Collingwood 4.7 8.14 19.20 26.21 (177) Casey Scorpions 0.1 4.3 6.4 9.8 (62) BEST: Collingwood – Stanley, Blair, Macaffer, Reid, Dick, Cook. Casey Scorpions – Panozza, Valenti, Matthews, Wall, B. McDonald, Faulks. GOALS: Collingwood – Dick 5, Stanley 4, Corrie 3, Blair 3, Rounds 2, Bennell 2, Cook 2, Dawes, Barham, Reed, Blight, Bryan. Casey Scorpions – Newton 3, Creed 2, Taylor, Blaser, Waite, Wall. FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL North Ballarat 2.3 4.3 8.6 15.8 (98) Port Melbourne 1.3 2.7 6.11 6.14 (50) BEST: North Ballarat – Garlett, Feery, Searl, Spolding, Clifton, McMahon. Port Melbourne – Cain, Pleming, Nixon, Batsanis, Dillon, Hassett. GOALS: North Ballarat – Jones 3, Dinnell 3, Clifton 2, A. Edwards, Sewell, Chester, Lower, Wundke, Roach, Goodes. Port Melbourne – Cain 2, Sengstock 2, Bonaddio, Neville. SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL Northern Bullants 2.1 6.8 10.10 11.12 (78) Williamstown 2.4 3.6 4.10 6.13 (49) BEST: Northern Bullants – Ellard, Browne, Bentick, Edwards, Hartlett, Jacobs. Williamstown – Callan, Skipper, Wood, Addison, Joyce, Davies. GOALS: Northern Bullants – Fisher 2, Yarran 2, Anderson, Gianfagna, Jarrod Bannister, S. Austin, Spiteri, Ellard, Iacobucci. Williamstown – Galea 2, Rose 2, Joyce, Roughead.

FIRST SEMI-FINAL UNSW/ES 5.0 9.5 11.7 11.13 (79) Pennant Hills 1.4 5.8 6.14 7.17 (59) BEST: UNSW/ES – Beardsley, Woods, Collett, Gulden, Henderson, Rutland. Pennant Hills – Crisfield, Bilbe, Jack, C. Richardson, Smith, Wright. GOALS: UNSW/ES – Abbott 3, Bradfield 2, Collett, Woods, Beardsley, Pech, Luff, Kefalas. Pennant Hills – A. Richardson 3, Myers, Smith, Moraitis, Lewis.

LIVELY PIE:

Brad Dick was a livewire with five goals for Collingwood.

SECOND SEMI-FINAL East Coast Eagles 5.3 10.10 13.12 17.18 (120) 1.2 3.4 8.6 10.6 (66) Western Suburbs BEST: East Coast – Wilson, Pearson, Skuse, Rogers, Dimery, Bourke. Western Suburbs – M. Kassem, Simpson, Hudson, Landy, Mumme, A. Eurell. GOALS: East Coast – Rogers 4, Seebeck 4, Garner 2, Dimery, Stanford, Ryan, Mendola, Pearson, Smyth, Byerlee. Western Suburbs – M. Eurell 4, Withers 2, Fiddler, Clout, Cole, Minichiello.

AFL CANBERR A – FINALS GRAND FINAL Belconnen Magpies 2.3 4.7 6.10 11.13 (79) Ainslie 1.2 4.5 7.11 10.13 (73) BEST: Belconnen Magpies – Jennings, Raadts, Mahar, Henning, Love, Curtis. Ainslie – Hughes, Pratt, Tutt, Love, Holmes, Crook. GOALS: Belconnen Magpies – Raadts 3, Singer 3, Mahar 2, York, Turnbull, Jennings. Ainslie – Tutt 3, Mathis 2, Lawless, Pettersson, Crook, Hughes, Inkster.

A F L S E A S O N S TAT S Kicks Dane Swan Rhyce Shaw Leigh Montagna Aaron Davey Nick Dal Santo Sam Mitchell

Tackles Collingwood Sydney Swans St Kilda Melbourne St Kilda Hawthorn

416 373 368 357 354 346

St Kilda Western Bulldogs Brisbane Lions St Kilda St Kilda Carlton

214 196 189 180 173 166

Geelong Cats Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs Geelong Cats Adelaide Fremantle

417 390 360 356 335 328

Marks Nick Riewoldt Brian Lake Jonathan Brown Jason Blake Sam Fisher Bret Thornton

Hard-ball gets Sydney Swans Port Adelaide Sydney Swans North Melbourne St Kilda St Kilda

170 161 155 152 140 128

Carlton St Kilda St Kilda Collingwood Sydney Swans Adelaide

137 128 115 114 111 109

Sydney Swans North Melbourne Western Bulldogs Collingwood Brisbane Lions West Coast Eagles

116 102 101 101 91 89

Inside 50

Handballs Gary Ablett Daniel Cross Matthew Boyd Joel Selwood Scott Thompson Paul Hasleby

Brett Kirk Domenic Cassisi Jude Bolton Andrew Swallow Leigh Montagna Lenny Hayes Chris Judd Jason Gram Leigh Montagna Dane Swan Adam Goodes Andrew McLeod

Geelong Cats Richmond Carlton Brisbane Lions Essendon West Coast Eagles

140 134 130 129 121 114

Collingwood Carlton St Kilda Collingwood Western Bulldogs Brisbane Lions

108 87 85 80 77 75

Sydney Swans Fremantle North Melbourne Brisbane Lions Geelong Cats Port Adelaide

682 659 514 509 441 432

Loose-ball gets

Rebounded from 50 Rhyce Shaw Scott D. Thompson Ryan Hargrave Heath Shaw Josh Drummond Shannon Hurn

Gary Ablett Shane Tuck Chris Judd Simon Black Jobe Watson Matt Priddis Dane Swan Marc Murphy Leigh Montagna Shane O’Bree Matthew Boyd Luke Power

Hit-outs Darren Jolly Aaron Sandilands Hamish McIntosh Mitch Clark Mark Blake Dean Brogan

AFL RECORD visit afl .com.au 103

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WANT THE

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FANS? Latest AFL Prints now available Visit your nearest club or AFL store or go to Vi

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talentidentifi ta alentidentification

So you think you could be a recruiter? The identifying and recruiting of the game’s next big things has become an industry in itself. JOHN T UR NBU L L

EYE FOR TALENT:

Recruiting managers such as Melbourne’s Barry Prendergast have an extensive check-list when they are assessing a prospective draftee.

D

aryl Jackson has made a significant contribution to Australian Football. Jackson, an Essendon supporter and the club’s deputy chairman, captained the Dons’ under-19s and played at reserves level. But he is better known as one of Australia’s most respected architects. Jackson’s company designed and built the MCG’s Great Southern Stand, described by an architecture critic as “a monumental piece of transformative architecture in itself” and also was behind the recent refurbishment of the Northern Stand.

And, in between these two projects, it designed and completed work on Docklands Stadium. And also worked on projects at Subiaco and the Gabba. That’s a fair contribution! In discussing his architectural approach, Jackson says: “Still the most important aspect in sports architecture is to give the majority of spectators the feeling that they are literally on the ground; that it is a mistake that they are not there, that they could have played, and it was just a terrible shame that their talent wasn’t recognised early enough.” Jackson follows his statement with a knowing,

These would-be scouts often end recruiting discussions with the line: ‘What where they thinking?’ self-deprecating chuckle. He may be drawing a long bow, but a related line of thinking can be applied to the way some fans reckon they can pick a genuine AFL player. They believe that if they weren’t doing their present line of work – as lawyers, plumbers, accountants, teachers or nurses, for example – they could easily slot into the role of AFL club recruiting manager.

They’d make sure not to draft some of the players picked for their team recently. And they wouldn’t have passed over Simon Black, who fell through to No. 31 in the 1997 draft. These would-be scouts often end recruiting discussions with the line: “What where they thinking?” What makes a good recruiter? What do they look for? The table (see next page) outlines potential predictors of talent for the AFL level, and many of these traits can be measured during a season or at the NAB AFL Draft Camp held post-season. However, by far the most important aspect of talent AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 105

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talentidentification It is proposed that knowledge is developed and acquired – at AFL recruiting and talent identification level – through the following: 1. Playing football – at a high level (AFL or state league at least). 2. Coaching (not just assisting) at senior youth or adult level, not the local under-12s. 3. Dealing extensively with draft-age players – those who would qualify include secondary school teachers or tertiary instructors or educators, police or social workers and, of course, coaches. 4. ‘Street smarts’.

assessment is the evaluation of match performances. Who makes the evaluations? The concept of intuition has recently emerged as a legitimate subject of scientific inquiry. This study of intuition has important ramifications for educational, personal, medical and managerial decision-making and is acquired through experience and learning and relies on pattern recognition processes, ‘gut feel’ and ‘hunches’. A proposed list of four criteria for potential recruiters appears on the next page. How many spectators sitting in Jackson’s MCG stands and other grounds around the country meet at least three of these four criteria? How many club recruiting managers would qualify? In 2004, I carried out a survey of AFL recruiting managers and their roles and responsibilities. Then, as now, more than half the managers had not fulfilled the playing criteria. Additionally, at least half had not coached and dealt with the vagaries of player performance, personality and contribution. As an aside, my view is that AFL clubs, in conjunction with the AFL Players’ Association, should identify AFL players on the verge of retirement who they consider to be potential recruiters and plan an educational, coaching and training program to encourage and develop prospective recruiters. Each AFL club has a recruiting network ranging

YOUNG AND TALENTED:

Club recruiters were quick to recognise Bryce Gibbs’ many attributes, with Carlton picking him at No. 1 in 2006.

from four to 25 staff. In 1998, clubs averaged about 19 staff (practically all part-time). In 2000, this number dropped to 15 and by 2004 it was 10. In 2004, only three AFL clubs had a full-time assistant to the recruiting manager but all clubs

had a staff member who could assist with video analysis. Five years on, every club has at least two full-time recruiting staff. The Western Bulldogs, at the instigation of their general manager of football, James Fantasia (who helped develop the

current Adelaide list) poached Adrian Caruso from Champion Data and so led the way working through the enormous volume of data and match vision now available to all clubs. His counterpart at Melbourne, Darren Farrugia, outlines how

106 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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To paraphrase Denis Pagan (when discussing coaching), ‘If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it’ Champion Data provides match vision on hard-drive systems for more than 300 matches involving draft-age players each season. Every player in each match is “coded” for match involvements, with the system able to quickly retrieve up to 50 match “transactions” per player per match for assessment. As David Parkin has acknowledged: “The system of football recruitment is much more sophisticated than scouts and recruiting managers – more sophisticated even than recruiting methods of slick corporations.” But there is a huge discrepancy in the resources available and the recruiting budgets between, say, Collingwood and clubs unable to spend as freely. In 2006, the Magpies spent $787,000 on recruiting, while Carlton, Melbourne, St Kilda and Richmond each spent less than $232,000. Collingwood spent $1.23 million on recruiting and list management last year; the Western Bulldogs outlaid $381,000. Mark Stewart from RMIT University (and former coach of Olympic and world champion pole-vaulter Steve Hooker) recently completed an extensive study titled ‘AFL Recruitment Prospectus’ in collaboration with Champion Data. Among a myriad of findings, Stewart and Champion concluded teams that spend the most money on their football department (excluding player payments) do better than they should, given the quality of their lists. This includes not only money spent on recruiting but also on development coaches, welfare, fitness staff and medical issues. In recent years, Collingwood, for example, has spent 10 times more than a lower Melbourne-based club. From a recruiting point of view, this allows a club to employ more full-time staff, have a greater travel and accommodation budget, spend more on evaluating NSW and international scholarship

prospects and conduct psychological and personal profiling. The recent suggestion (outlined by AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou in an interview in the AFL Record last week and reported in The Australian on August 21) of a “revolutionary financing scheme” from the AFL to equalise costs is significant. Why have some AFL clubs’ recruiting budgets been so low? It is accepted that each draft selection is a $200,000 decision for each club (taking into account player salaries). Many clubs are now realising that it is preferable to have full-time staff supported by technological staff, rather than enthusiastic part-time retirees or young fans who specialise in “blogging” about the game and who can provide dubious statistically driven information based on our version of the ‘Moneyball’ concept (a statistical system of analysis explained in Michael Lewis’ book of the same name), but can’t tell when a player short-steps to avoid a contest. Have clubs considered closely where their resources and money is allocated when planning to improve their lists? Back to the original point – evaluation of the match performances of prospective draftees is the most important issue. Match vision supports but does not supplant watching live action. Experienced observers are required. As a recruitment specialist stated, “It’s discipline, it’s hard work, it’s conscientiousness. It’s not rocket science.” But it’s partly based on intuition, and to borrow from Denis Pagan (when discussing coaching), “If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it.” AFL recruiting is a tremendous profession. You get to deal with committed young blokes (and their families) from the full range of society. These guys are selected on their merit after stringent scrutiny; the old school tie or influential contacts don’t come into play. And then to observe the draftees’ progress and ultimately see them perform at the highest level – from Daryl Jackson’s MCG stands – is most rewarding. In 2007, John Turnbull was commissioned by the AFL to present a report titled Analysis of the Research and Literature into the Methods of Successfully Identifying and Developing Talent in Sport from a Global Perspective.

LATE BLOOMER: West Coast ruckman Dean Cox, pictured here at a stoppage

battling Western Bulldog Ben Hudson, developed after a stint on the rookie list.

Identifying talent is a multi-faceted issue PHYSICAL PREDICTORS Height Weight Body size Bone diameter

Muscle growth Somatotyping (measuring body type) 2nd:4th digit ratio

SOCIOLOGICAL PREDICTORS Parental support Socio-economic background Education Coach-player interaction Quality of coaching Hours in practice Cultural background

Potential predictors of talent in the AFL

PSYCHOLOGICAL PREDICTORS Aerobic capacity Anaerobic endurance Anaerobic power

PSYCHOLOGICAL PREDICTORS PERSONALITY Self-confidence Motivation Emotional intelligence Anxiety control Concentration

PERCEPTUAL-COGNITIVE SKILLS Attention Anticipation Decision-making Goal-setting Game intelligence Creative thinking Motor/technical skills Performance evaluation

Match Performances AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 107

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aflpamvp

ABLETT

without peer, say players Geelong star Gary Ablett became the first player to win the AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player Award three times when was announced the 2009 MVP in Melbourne last Monday night.

G

eelong midfielder Gary Ablett secured a record-breaking third Leigh Matthews Trophy after being voted by his peers as the AFL Players’ Association Most Valuable Player for 2009. Ablett polled 688 votes on the 3-2-1 basis. Collingwood’s Dane Swan finished second (584 votes), Carlton’s Chris Judd (546) third and St Kilda’s Nick Riewoldt (343) fourth, while Ablett’s Geelong teammate Joel Selwood (285) rounded out the top five. Judd and Riewoldt are previous winners – Judd having won when he was with the West Coast Eagles in 2006 and Riewoldt in 2004. The Geelong champion is the only player to win three MVP awards. Three greats of the game – Greg Williams, Wayne Carey and Michael Voss – won two. The award recognises versatility, skill, leadership, respect for teammates and the opposition and the ability to play under pressure. “It is very humbling to win this award and to receive it three years in a row is a tremendous honour,” Ablett said. “The respect that the players have for this award is enormous and, as the only player-voted award, it is one of the highest honours you can ever receive in this game.” Despite missing three games in the home and away season due to injury, Ablett tallied impressive season statistics, averaging more than 34 disposals a game and having more than 40 possessions in six separate games.

HAPPY CAT:

A proud Gary Ablett displays the Leigh Matthews Trophy after winning the AFLPA MVP award for the third time. PHOTO: LACHLAN CUNNINGHAM/ SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP

LE ADERBOARD

Leigh Matthews Trophy voting for 2009 MVP Gary Ablett Dane Swan Chris Judd Nick Riewoldt Joel Selwood

(Geel) (Coll) (Carl) (St K) (Geel)

688 584 546 343 285

CON T IN U ED PAGE 110

108 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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aflpamvp In the other categories: Joel Selwood won the Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award. Selwood (248 votes) finished ahead of Sydney’s Brett Kirk (132) and the Saints’ Lenny Hayes (91). ■ The Best First-Year Player Award was taken out by Brisbane Lions youngster Daniel Rich, who tallied an amazing 463 votes. Collingwood’s Dayne Beams (45) and Fremantle’s Greg Broughton (25) completed the top three. ■ Inspirational Brisbane Lions skipper Jonathan Brown was voted the competition’s best captain (168 votes). Judd (136), Kirk (111) and Riewoldt (91) also figured prominently. ■ St Kilda defender Max Hudghton was awarded the Education and Training Excellence Award. Hudghton has combined football with his passion for the building industry, having completed his diploma of building and certificates in business management and building registration. In 2002, Hudghton started his own company Maxton Constructions Pty Ltd. ■ Age writer Emma Quayle was awarded the Grant Hattam Award for excellence in football journalism for her story ‘A Street Named Desire,’ the story of AFL draftees Nick Naitanui, Chris Yarran and Michael Walters, who grew up on the same street in Perth. ■ In the only award presented on the night which was not voted by players, Collingwood star Dane Swan was presented with the prestigious Herald Sun Player of the Year Award.

HONOUR ROLL

Previous MVP winners

TOUGH CAT:

Joel Selwood won the Most Courageous Player Award.

HOW IT WORKS

Voting process Step one – club nominations Every player is asked to vote 3-2-1 for their teammates for the Leigh Matthews Trophy for Most Valuable Player. Every player then nominates one teammate for the Robert Rose Award for Most Courageous Player and the Best First-Year Player. The votes are tallied resulting in the final nominations: ■ Three players from each club nominated as Most Valuable Player; ■ One player from each club nominated as Best First-Year Player; ■ One player from each club nominated as Most Courageous Player; ■ Best captain award, including all captains from the 16 AFL clubs.

1982 Leigh Matthews (Haw) 1983 Terry Daniher (Ess) 1984 Russell Greene (Haw) 1985 Greg Williams (Geel) 1986 Paul Roos (Fitz) 1987 Tony Lockett (St K) 1988 Gerard Healy (Syd) 1989 Tim Watson (Ess) 1990 Darren Millane (Coll) 1991 Jim Stynes (Melb) 1992 Jason Dunstall (Haw) 1993 Gary Ablett snr (Geel) 1994 Greg Williams (Carl) 1995 Wayne Carey (NM) 1996 Corey McKernan (NM) 1997 Robert Harvey (St K) 1998 Wayne Carey (NM) 1999 Shane Crawford (Haw) 2000 Anthony Koutoufides (Carl) 2001 Andrew McLeod (Adel) 2002 Luke Darcy (WB) 2002 Michael Voss (BL) 2003 Michael Voss (BL) 2004 Nick Riewoldt (St K) 2005 Ben Cousins (WCE) 2006 Chris Judd (WCE) 2007 Gary Ablett jnr (Geel) 2008 Gary Ablett jnr (Geel) 2009 Gary Ablett jnr (Geel)

Step two – voting The nominations are presented by the AFLPA to the clubs. Each player votes for one player in each category, except for the MVP, where players select three players on a 3-2-1 basis. Players cannot vote for their teammates. A representative of the AFLPA is in attendance while the players vote to ensure the integrity of the process.

Step three – awards The final votes are tallied under the supervision of independent auditors. The winners of each award were announced at at a function last Monday night in Melbourne.

HAWK HERO: Leigh Matthews

won the first AFLPA MVP in 1982.

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110 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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COACHES ON COACHING – PART 10

LEADERSHIP AND

teamwork Developing strong leadership and a team-first mentality is crucial to long-term success, as Adelaide’s Neil Craig explains in the AFL Record’s Coaches on Coaching series.

M

aximising leadership and teamwork is where the next real competitive advantage is going to come from in the football industry. You can go and watch other clubs train and imitate their drills, but in terms of the leadership and teamwork aspects of various clubs, you can read and talk about them as much as you like, but they simply can’t be copied. The selection, training and ongoing

development of leaders and teamwork can be one of the most important things a club can do – it can have a bigger long-term impact than almost any factor. As a leader, it’s vitally important that you develop a clear philosophy as this will form the basis of your decision-making, actions and behaviours. Your philosophy is your set of qualities, attitudes, values and principles; it is what you stand for and it is something you will call upon time and time again as a coach or player. If you haven’t developed a clear philosophy, you become

wishy-washy, and when you are faced with tough decisions, you will tend to make choices that are either safe, political or popular. But you do have to be open-minded as well, otherwise you become too rigid and the development of your philosophy will become stifled. The best leaders I’ve observed always draw on what I call moral courage – they make the decision they believe is right. Therefore, you have got to be clear in your mind about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Where your philosophy becomes absolutely vital from

112 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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1 2

g leadership ar and evolvin Establish a cle will be based It y. ph philoso and teamwork lues and va , es es, attitud on your qualiti principles. your team foundation of Make trust the freedom to s er ay pl g vin gi environment, Remember, and disagree. express ideas is about the d an e to build trust takes tim behaviour. quality of your team will bate within the de d Conflict an to achieve g in riv st is p ensure the grou ce. high performan ce have s of performan Once standard ake a m to ial it’s cruc been debated, t. en commitm nior coach is vital – the se Accountability group or e th ntly monitor cannot consta ers must ay pl so y, da erun out on gam ility. take responsib position. out action, not ab is ip sh er and you Lead ng hi et m so and for you do, You need to st at wh by be judged will ultimately y. not what you sa in program will be e The proof of th . lts consistent resu

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LEADING THE WAY: Adelaide coach Neil Craig has clear philosophies on leadership that ultimately influence players’ decision-making on game-day.

a leadership point of view in our industry is in times of uncertainty, conflict, confusion, adversity or failure. However, by far the most difficult decisions are the conflicts of right versus right. These decisions often turn out to be defining moments in terms of which way your club goes, and they can reveal a leader’s basic values and, in some cases, those of your club. I would like to stress to people and players in leadership positions to develop a really clear leadership philosophy that dictates how you go about your decision-making.

Al b actions i d Always remember and behaviours; you will ultimately be judged by what you do, not what you say. Outstanding leadership and teamwork can simply give you weight of numbers in your playing performance. The Sydney Swans have been renowned for years for the amount of game-day contributors they have; St Kilda showed on the weekend the value of weight of numbers – it’s absolutely crucial on game-day. The thing is, all coaches want to have good leadership on the field; we all talk about how we’d like good leaders and players to accept the responsibility, which leads to the big question – how can you expect it to happen if you are not training it? You have got to give players the opportunity to be able to develop these qualities. Exactly how you go about that will depend on your coaching philosophy. You can have a model of ‘I tell, you do’, which is a pretty good one to use on match-day because of the task required and the sense of urgency generated via time. You don’t have the time to sit around and talk about it, so there has got to be a degree of trust between the coaches and the playing group. Part of my philosophy is the playing group should not have to check on everything with me before they go and do something. I’m a great believer

t that the players deliver the ultim u ultimate product, not me, not the a assistant coaches, not the pres p president, not the CEO. I have a responsibility to ccon continually develop their llead leadership and teamwork – if tthe they are to deliver the product on game-day, we need to o ma make sure they have got the sk skills to do that. I believe the majority of pl p players are responsible, iin intelligent individuals; if tth they are not, why would yyou recruit them? Players a are not cattle and they’re n not inmates running the a asylum, which is what you o often hear, and they’re ccertainly not the enemy. I value players’ opinions, a and I want to know and u understand why a player thinks a certain way. I’m a great believer in collective wisdom and intellig intelligence. I have at my disposal 44 elite li players at our football club who have all got good ideas about football and the way we can do things better. They have real ideas and real solutions. There are many times I don’t have the answers, so I often ask the team – it’s amazing how often they know the answer. If you want me to define leadership in general terms, it is about action, not position. It is about your capacity to have a positive influence in an environment, whether it is the way things get done or your relationships with other people. Therefore, the first requirement is that you need to build trust with the people you are working with. I’m lucky enough to have experienced a whole range of sports in my previous life, working in the South Australian Sports Institute and the Australian Institute of Sport. I was involved with the Australian cycling team with (head coach) Charlie Walsh, and when I first started there, we were a laughing stock on the world stage. We were considered a joke. Within five years, that same program was considered the best in the world; not because of me, but because of Charlie’s leadership. By chance, I was fortunate enough to be in an environment where I could actually sit and observe the changes that occurred in that program to go from a laughing

stock on the world stage to the best in the world. There are common elements to any high-performance team, and the best highperformance teams in any sport or organisation have a huge amount of trust in each other. They are able to communicate from a completely open point of view, without any filters. Trust is really about being able to put forward those opinions and debate the issues on the table – you are not trying to sabotage someone’s career, but to maximise performance. I don’t want suffering obedience or artificial harmony; I want an environment where players feel secure in the knowledge they can take issue with their teammates or coaches without sabotaging their career. So trust is the first thing and remember; trust is only built through the quality of your actions. When you have trust you get conflict, which is really important because your team is not afraid to engage in passionate debate. People don’t hesitate to disagree, challenge or question, whether it be their teammates or the coaches.

I’m a great believer that the players deliver the ultimate product, not me, not the assistant coaches, not the president, not the CEO I’ve had a lot of feedback from the playing group about things they want me to stop doing as coach, because they believe it is counter-productive to our playing performance. At first I found this somewhat intimidating, but if you don’t want the feedback, don’t ask for it! However, if you are going to get feedback, you don’t necessarily have to action everything that comes your way, but if you react to nothing, in the end you won’t get any feedback. I’ve had numerous examples where the playing group has said, ‘Neil, can you stop doing that, because what you’re doing there is not conducive to high performance’. That’s great feedback for me as a coach, and I’d rather get that information sooner than later. It’s all in the spirit of finding the best answers, discovering the truths and AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au 113

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COACHES C OAC CHES ON N COACHING CO OACHING ACH NG G – PART PA ART 10 0

TRUSTING: Neil Craig wants all his players to be accountable whether it is a senior player like Simon Goodwin (pictured with Craig) or a young rookie.

making the best decisions. Once you have had conflict, you then find you can get commitment. In other words, we’ve all had our opportunity to debate it, question it and put our opinion forward. It seems to me there’s something in human nature that says, provided I’ve had an opportunity to put my opinion forward, I’ll go with whatever decision is made, even though I might not agree with it. And that’s really important, the commitment, because at some stage you have got to make a decision – this is what we are going with, so I need everyone on board. After the commitment, you are after accountability. This is the crucial area, because all too often in football clubs the senior coach

So here’s a player talking to the teammate who has taken his position in the team, and yet was still prepared to share information and intelligence to help his performance is seen as the person who should be accountable for everything. The only problem with that is if you are going to rely on the senior coach as being the main source of accountability, he has got to be everywhere all the time, and that just doesn’t happen. So it’s important teams that commit to decisions and standards of performance don’t hesitate to hold one another accountable. I don’t want to be accountable all day and every day for this team; I can’t be accountable for them on gameday, because I’m not out there. My experience tells me that

great teams don’t totally rely on the senior coach as the main source of accountability for the day-to-day running of the playing side of the club. Finally, teams that trust each other, engage in conflict, commit to decisions and hold one another accountable are likely to focus on what is best for the team – playing performance. It’s not about trying to get a position in the team, it’s not about me not liking you and I’m going to do something about it – it’s purely based on results, and I think that’s the key in any team and leadership position.

How do you know if your leadership and teamwork philosophy is working? One indicator I had was a couple of years ago with a player who had been omitted from the team. At half-time, I came down into the rooms and that same player was sitting with the guy who had taken his spot, giving him advice and helping him with information about the opponent he was standing. So here’s a player talking to the teammate who has taken his position in the team, and yet was still prepared to share information and intelligence to help his performance. That was the first indication to me that we were making progress with what I call ‘true teamwork’. AS TOLD TO ANDREW WALLACE

NAB Community

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114 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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QSP0124_FP_AFLR.pdf

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The Spirit of Australia


FINALS WEEK TWO

time on Answer man

TALKIN G POINT

p122

NAME GAME

AFL history ory guru Col Hutchinson answers your queries.

Good old challengers

Down to the wire Essendon and Hawthorn played in a round 22 ‘mini final’ to determine eighth place. How often has such a match taken place in the last round to decide a position, allowing one of the teams to participate in finals?

 The Melbourne suburb from which Collingwood takes its name, and which was the club’s home for over a century, was named after Admiral Lord Collingwood, a hero of the Battle of Trafalgar under Lord Nelson. The name itself meant a wood whose ownership was disputed (from “wood” and the Middle English calenge, meaning “challenge”/“dispute”). For those with a mind for such things, Collingwood is made up of two players’ names – those of Gary Colling (St Kilda 1968-81) and of any number of Woods, including current Magpie Cameron Wood (pictured); and it contains the name of the Cats’ best tagger. Collingwood’s great rival, Carlton, is named after what was once the London residence of the Princes of Wales. Carlton derives from the Old English ceorl (free peasant, common man) and tun (settlement). Nobody named Collingwood has played senior League football, but Phil Carlton played 10 games for the Swans KEVAN CARROLL in 1975.

BILLY REIFFEL, SOUTHBANK, VIC

CH: The following pairs also

played each other in the last round for a finals position when not depending on results in other matches. The loser missed out – 1901: Fitzroy d Melbourne by 13 points at the Brunswick St Oval; 1908: Collingwood d South Melbourne by 66 points at Victoria Park; 1914: Geelong d Collingwood by 24 points at Victoria Park; 1923: South Melbourne d St Kilda by 20 points at the Lake Oval; 1938: Collingwood d Melbourne by nine points at Victoria Park; 1944: Footscray d Carlton by one point at Princes Park; 1945: Carlton d Footscray by 53 points at Whitten Oval; 1956: Footscray

d Carlton by 17 points at Princes Park; 1961: Footscray d Geelong by 21 points at Whitten Oval; 1972: St Kilda d Hawthorn by 19 points at Glenferrie Oval; 1995: Brisbane Bears d Melbourne by 21 points at the Gabba; 2005: Port Adelaide d Fremantle by 45 points at Football Park.

FINALS BOUND: Byron Pickett and Domenic Cassisi celebrate the Power’s last-round win in 2005.

WRITE TO ANSWER MAN The Slattery Media Group 140 Harbour Esplanade Docklands, 3008 or email michaell@slatterymedia.com

P L AY E R I N F O R M AT I O N S E A R C H

Are you, or do you know, a descendant of any of the following players?  All of them were born before 1920 and the AFL would be keen to know what has happened to them since their playing days. Jack Dennington (Footscray 1931), John Dowling (North Melbourne 1927-31 & Footscray 1932-33), Jack Hayes (Footscray 1931), Frank Hughes (Footscray

1929), Tom Jones (Footscray 1926), Jack Keane (Footscray 1935), Billy Leahy (Footscray 1934-36), Charlie Page (Footscray 1938-41), Jack Patterson (South Melbourne 1931 & North Melbourne 1932; 1934-35), Ken Rosewarne (Collingwood 1932), Percy Streeter (Melbourne 1933

& Footscray 1934) and Alan Welch (South Melbourne 1933-37). Should you have any information regarding any of the above, including date of death, if applicable, contact Col Hutchinson on (03) 9643 1929 or col.hutchinson@afl.com.au.

WATCH BEFORE THE GAME SATURDAY NIGHTS ON TEN

beforethegame.com.au

TIPSTERS

MICK

LEHMO

STRAUCHANIE

DAVE

SAM

ANDY

Western Bulldogs

Western Bulldogs

Brisbane Lions

Western Bulldogs

Western Bulldogs

Western Bulldogs

Adelaide

Adelaide

Adelaide

Collingwood

Adelaide

Collingwood

TOTAL

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TOTAL

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Journalist Peter Ryan has been living inside Collingwood Football Club for the Toyota AFL Premiership Season 2009 and has captured first-hand the reality behind the headlines, the pressure, the emotion, the personalities and the inner workings of Australia’s most famous sporting club.

BOOK COMING NOVEMBER 2009 SPECIAL MEMBERS EDITION AVAILABLE Visit www.collingwoodfc.com.au to pre-order your copy or for more information

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COLLECTABLES WITH RICK MILNE

The Cats’ whiskers A weekly look at collectables, memorabilia and all footy things stored in boxes and garages. RICK’S RARITY

My father was friends with former Geelong star Fred Wooller and, many years ago, he gave my dad a signed photo of himself. I would appreciate a valuation.

 One of the toughest players of any era, Charlie Sutton was captain-coach of the 1954 Footscray premiership team. Recruited from Spotswood Citizens, he signed with the Bulldogs just two hours before the zone in which he lived was handed over to South Melbourne. He injured a hamstring in the lead-up to the 1954 Grand Final, but was inspirational in the defeat of Melbourne. This large-format card is one of a series featuring players of the 1950s and is quite rare.

ANDY, VIE EMAIL

RM: Wooller was a champion

centre half-forward who was captain of the Cats’ 1963 premiership side. This makes his photo more valuable than most, especially as it is signed. If mounted on board, it is worth $450 and, if not, $250. I have a copy of a goal umpire’s scorecard from the 1977 tied Collingwood-North Melbourne Grand Final and was wondering about its value. RAYMOND, VIE EMAIL

RM: You have a copy, Raymond.

I have had a few queries about this scorecard, but someone must have made copies. I hope you did not pay a fortune for your copy as it is worth $20 at most. I still have my Football Record from the 1970 St Kilda-South Melbourne first semi-final at the MCG. I think it was Bob Skilton’s only finals appearance and he signed my copy. Value? ROSE, VIA EMAIL

SUPER CAT: A signed photo of Geelong’s 1963 premiership captain Fred Wooller is worth at least $250

RM: It certainly was the

champion’s only finals game and, unfortunately for Skilton, the Saints caned the Swans. Although not rare, having Skilton’s signature increases the value of your copy to about $200. My father won a Jason Akermanis Western Bulldogs jumper in a raffle. Dad gave it to me for my

birthday and I was wondering how much it would be worth, especially if the Bulldogs win this year’s premiership JACK, VIA EMAIL

RM: It’s worth quite a bit.

Akermanis has had a great year and, if the Doggies win the big one, you can double the value from $750.

CONTACT RICK MILNE mrpp@iprimus.com.au or drop him a line: 5 Cooraminta St, Brunswick, Vic, 3056 or call (03) 9387 4131. One query per reader.

IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT BUYING 2009 TOYOTA AFL GRAND FINAL TICKETS Supporters should be aware it is now illegal for an AFL Grand Final ticket to be sold for a premium on its own or as part of a package deal unless the seller is authorised in writing by the AFL. This follows the 2009 Toyota AFL Grand Final being declared an event under the ticket provisions (Part 9) of the Major Sporting Events Act (2009) that came into operation in June 2009 to provide fairer access for supporters to major events and more transparent ticketing arrangements. Breaches of the Act can mean entry to the event being denied to the ticket holder and fines per ticket in excess of $7,000 for a person or $35,000 for a company – with multiple offences carrying fines up to 10 times these amounts. Each AFL club must detail its ticket distribution arrangements on its website. If unsure whether a ticket seller is authorised, please see the AFL website at www.afl.com.au or contact the AFL on 03 9643 1999.

AFL Grand Final tickets are subject to the following condition of sale: • This ticket is sold or distributed on the condition that it not be resold or offered for resale at a premium or be used for advertising, promotions, competitions or other commercial purposes without the AFL’s prior written authorisation. • Any breach of these conditions allows your ticket to be cancelled and for a Declared Event may be an indictable offence under the Major Sporting Events Act 2009 (Vic).” I thank the AFL for their cooperation with the Victorian Government to ensure their 2009 Toyota AFL Grand Final Ticketing Scheme has transparent ticket distribution practices and deters scalping. James Merlino MP Minister for Sport, Recreation and Youth Affairs

118 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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KNOWLEDGE

AC R O S S

DOWN

1

Conlan, McGuane and Martyn are some of these (5)

1

Supernatural, as applied to Daicos-like skills (5)

4

Daughter of broadcaster Tim, making her own mark in journalism (3)

2

Players have been known to try this on umpires (3)

6 9

The Brownlow, as a trophy (5)

3

Alternate ...... are becoming part of the game’s uniforms (6)

Coached Fitzroy in its final season (5)

4 5

Those who choose the team (9)

10 11 13 14 15 17 20 21 22

6 7

Last Tiger premiership captain (8)

8 12 14

The family of 4 across (4)

24

Brett ......., Roos’ leading goalkicker in 1997; later played for Swans (7)

16

Crow premiership ruckman, then Hawk. Wore 52 at both clubs (5, 4)

26 29

18 19

Brother of ‘Nuts’ won 1927 Brownlow (3)

If you’re not in, you’re ... (3)

30

23 25

The playing group (4)

Brownlow Lion who debuted in round four, 1995 (9)

32 33 34

International ..... Series (5)

27 28

Crow who went home to WA in 2005 (5)

31

Number of goals kicked by Jamie Shanahan (3)

At his peak, EJ was considered a military presence on the field (7) Short for champion (5) 2004 Copeland Trophy winner (7) Bomber is a multiple medal winner (4) Sydney coach (4) Selwoods, Scotts and Wakelins (5) Retired after 2004 Grand Final (5) Diagnostic tool often used on knees (4) Nickname of Dermott Brereton, in his early days (3)

Readily available for treating inflamed spots (3)

Given name of 2004 Saints captain (3) ‘The Galloping Gasometer’, Mick ..... (5)

Once a feature of the centre square, particularly at Glenferrie Oval (3) John Kennedy’s famous edict in his three quarter-time address during 1975 Grand Final (4, 5, 2) Blue turned Saint (5, 6) Swans’ goalkicker who retired this year (4)

Brett ........ played with both SA AFL teams (8) Mark Williams and Stephen Milne are forwards of this size (5) Josh .... returned to Port Adelaide this year (4)

Scrambled footballer A Dog Banner

Cryptic footballers

Who is the owner of this quote?

1. Power player’s beret askew. 2. Kangaroo whose companion is hearty?

3. Omit monetary value for

MICK MALTHOUSE

RODNEY EADE

NEIL CRAIG

MICHAEL VOSS

4. Bower confused about name for Blues teammate.

5. Swan, for example, at Sydney.

6. Demon to whom Flower contributed?

7. Couples in Essendon’s defence, we hear.

8. Satisfying victory for Crow. 9. Bulldog loses head – becomes a Kangaroo.

10. Wild Hawk.

THIS WEEK’S ANSWERS

SCRAMBLED FOOTBALLER: Dean Brogan CRYPTIC FOOTBALLERS: 1. Ebert 2. Hale 3. Skipworth 4. Browne 5. Bird 6. Garland 7. Pears 8. Goodwin 9. Ross 10. Savage HE SAID WHAT?: Mick Malthouse

Is life fair? I wake up tomorrow morning and I have breakfast. Half of Africa won’t. Is that fair?

Bomber.

120 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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9/9/09 5:59:10 PM


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Congratulations to Daniel Rich The 2009 NAB AFL Rising Star Daniel Rich has been a tough man to catch this year, though on game day you might find him running the lines or at the base of a pack chasing the hard ball. It is these qualities, plus many more, that made him a standout choice for this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s NAB AFL Rising Star Award. Taken by Brisbane Lions with their first selection in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, Rich made his debut against St Kilda in Round One of the 2009 NAB Cup. From NAB AFL Auskick, to the NAB AFL Rising Star program and beyond, NAB is as passionate about the potential of young Australians as we are about footy and we congratulate Daniel on his achievements.

Š2009 National Australia Bank Limited ABN 12 004 044 937 NSM0775/D/R


timeon TALKING POINT 2009seasonreview

Heroes on and off the field A September 11 survivor will be an interested observer at this week’s Magpies-Crows clash. PETER DI SISTO

O

ften we read and hear about – and see first-hand – the heroics displayed by AFL players and other sportsmen. We love our game’s physicality and its sometimesbrutal encounters; we scream for more contests so we can see players test how brave they really are, and we stand up and shout when there’s even only a hint of a scuffle to be seen. Earlier this week, Geelong’s Joel Selwood was lauded by his peers as the competition’s most courageous player. No one who has watched Selwood closely would dispute this choice – he plays without fear, often seen inside or under packs, winning and dishing out the ball while copping a battering. And he doesn’t mind – as we might euphemistically say today – “engaging his opponents” in the physical stuff, a legacy of growing up “being smashed around” in the backyard by his three brothers (Lion Troy and Eagles Adam and Scott), as he half-jokingly explained after another strong effort last week against the Western Bulldogs. There’s a kinship between AFL players – they know what it takes mentally and physically to perform well at the highest level, under intense scrutiny from all quarters. In turn, their high profile elevates many of them to ‘hero’ status in the eyes of fans, and they are often asked to provide comfort to the sick or lend support to those in crisis, as many of our players did in the aftermath of the devastating Victorian bushfires in February. It’s been that way since the game’s origins. This weekend, we will doubtless be lauding another set of courageous heroes who help shape the outcomes of the Western Bulldogs-Brisbane Lions and Collingwood-Adelaide semi-finals. Coaches will always say the game is about team, but it almost always takes an outstanding individual effort to

BRAVE AS THEY COME: In the context of AFL football, players such as Geelong’s Joel Selwood show great courage every week, but a man who knows something about courage of another kind will be a special guest of the AFL on Saturday night. Inset: NYFD Battalion Chief Jay Jonas.

spark a team. Often a so-called sacrificial act – a tackle, smother or block to help a teammate – is what gets the business done. Watching the Magpies-Crows match with interest will be a man who knows a little bit about teamwork, sacrifice, physical and mental courage, and the concept of heroics. New York Fire Department Battalion Chief Jay Jonas was one of only a dozen or so people who emerged alive out of the World Trade Center twin towers in New York after they collapsed on the morning of September 11, 2001, ploughed into by commercial planes hijacked by terrorists. Jonas and members of his fire company were having

You deal with it – you don’t have a choice. People have a remarkable capacity to function under extreme stress JAY JONAS

breakfast in a nearby Manhattan fire station when they heard the first plane hit. They immediately got into their truck and headed to the scene. Jonas is a NYFD veteran, and has seen plenty of devastation, but what he saw in Lower Manhattan was “horrible” – mangled buildings, choking smoke, flying debris

and burnt bodies. Jonas and his team were on the 27th floor of the north tower trying to find trapped survivors when the south tower collapsed. They rushed back down the stairs, struggling to carry an elderly woman they had encountered. When they reached the fourth floor, the tower started crumbling and they were thrown around by a swirling wind created by the immense pressure of each of the 110 floors “pancaking” on to the one below. Jagged steel beams flew around them. Jonas lost “about 100” colleagues and friends on the day, but is matter-of-fact about his experience. “You deal wit it – you don’t have a with cho choice,” he said. “People hav a remarkable capacity have f to function under extreme str stress and help their fellow ma he said when asked man,” wh the experience what ta taught him. In the days after the at attacks, New Yorkers – m much of the western world in fact – turned to sporting te teams for comfort. We did th same here, with the the R Richmond-Carlton and P Adelaide-Hawthorn Port s semi-fi nals helping ease th shock h the of what we’d seen on our television screens in previous days. Granted, our sportsmen and the games they play are a fundamental part of our culture, and there’s nothing wrong in lauding their efforts. But sometimes, we overplay the efforts of sporting heroes or wrongly classify injury setbacks as “tragedies”. Sometimes, we just need a little perspective. Jay Jonas is in Melbourne for the launch of the Tour of Duty charity run across the United States planned for next year. Melbourne firefighter Paul Ritchie and 15 other Melbourne Fire Brigade officers will run 7392km across the country from Los Angeles to New York in 26 days, arriving at Ground Zero where the towers once stood at 8.46am on September 11, nine years to the minute after the first plane crashed. Go to tourofduty.com.au to find out more about the project.

122 AFL RECORD visit aflrecord.com.au

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To win the game, everything has to work together. That’s why there’s a car with V6 power and outstanding fuel economy, and exhilarating pace with impressive handling. To fi nd out more about the game-changing 200kW Toyota Aurion visit www.toyota.com.au. It’s a whole new ball game.

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oh what a feeling!

Official car of the AFL

AFL Record, Semi Finals 2009  

The AFL Record is the most loved and read football magazine in the country and for the first time, is now available free to read online each...

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